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Changing from R-1 to EB-4

R-1 visas are issued to people who enter the U.S. temporarily to work as ministers or in another religious vocation. They need to be employed by non-profit religious organizations that meet certain requirements, including being affiliated to a religious denomination the United States.

R-1 temporary workers who want to become permanent residents of the U.S. need to apply for the EB-4 visa. While the R-1 visa is a temporary visa, the EB-4 visa allows its holder to work in the U.S. permanently.

The eligibility for both visa categories is similar, except that the EB-4 visa requires the applicant to have 2 years of work experience. This is why many choose to enter the U.S. on an R-1 visa, get the work experience and then apply for the EB-4 visa.

The process for getting an EB-4 visa:

A qualifying R-1 visa holder needs to be petitioned by his current employer or another employer. Also, eligible applicants may be able to self-petition. Once the petition has been approved, the beneficiary needs to apply to adjust status to that of a permanent resident.

It is to be noted that it is not mandatory to first apply for an R-1 visa to be able to apply for an EB-4 visa. The advantage of this process is that, getting an R-1 visa and entering the U.S. and then following the procedures to get a green card may be faster in some cases. People abroad who already have 2 years of religious work experience may directly follow the procedure to apply for a green card under the special immigrant religious worker category.

Need Counsel for Immigration? Call Today.

Immigration law can be complicated and this article does not exhaust all the circumstances surrounding the R-1 and EB-4 visas. These issues can be extremely complex, and a single misstep could potentially lead to a rejection of your application or other immigration penalties. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Call our law firm for a free consultation today at: (949) 478-4936.