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Green Card for a Religious Worker (Minister or Nonminister)

Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 1990 to create a special immigrant status for ministers and nonministers in religious vocations and occupations.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible in the religious worker category, you must:

  • Have been a member of a bona fide non-profit religious denomination for at least two years prior to filing Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Have been working continuously for the past two years immediately prior to filing the immigrant petition:
    • As a religious minister in a religious vocation either professional or non-professional capacity, or
    • In a religious occupation either professional or nonprofessional capacity
  • Seek to enter the United States solely to carry out such religious occupation of the employer’s denomination

Application Process

To apply for a Green Card while in the United States, you must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Supporting Evidence for Form I-485

You should submit all of the following evidence with your Form I-485:

  • Form I-485 (type or print in black ink)
  • Copy of Form I-797, approval notice for I-360, Petition for Amerasian Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Passport photos, 2"x2" full-face color frontal view on a white or off-white background (although USCIS now uses your photos taken during fingerprint appointment)
  • Form I-485A, Supplement A, if filed under 245(i)
  • Form I-693, Medical Examination, signed and sealed by a designated physician
  • Birth certificate or other records of your birth
  • Copies of all passport pages with nonimmigrant visas
  • Arrest and criminal history
  • Employment verification letter from petitioner on religious entity’s letterhead, stating your salary and position and that the job is still available
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s current passport and previously issued passports, including biographic/photo pages, current and expired visas, and pages with relevant entry or departure stamps
  • Photocopy of Form I-797 approval notices for all extensions and changes of status
  • Photocopy of the Form I-20 or IAP 66 school records (front and back, including all school annotations)
  • Form G-28, if you have an attorney representing your case

If you are outside the United States, please see the Consular Processing webpage.


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