Employment-Based Fourth Preference Categories
The fourth preference categories is reserved for special immigrants, including, but not limited to:
- Religious Workers
- Special Immigrant Juveniles
- International Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad
- Armed Forces Members
- Certain Physicians
There is a cap of 5,000 workers who may be issued a special immigrant non-minister religious worker visa during each fiscal year. There is no cap for special immigrant religious workers entering the U.S. solely for the purpose of carrying on the vocation of a minister.
To qualify as a special immigrant religious worker, the foreign national must:
- Have been a member of a religious denomination that has a bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition with USCIS;
- Seek to enter the United States to work in a full time, compensatedposition in one of the following occupations:
- Solely as a minister of that religious denomination;
- A religious vocation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity; or
- A religious occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity.
- Be coming to work for either:
- A bona fide non-profit religious organization in the United States; or
- A bona fide organization that is affiliated with the religious denomination in the United States.
- Have been working in one of the positions described above after the age of 14, either abroad or in the United States, continuously for at least 2 years immediately before the filing of a petition with USCIS. The prior religious work need not correspond precisely to the type of work to be performed. A break in the continuity of the work during the preceding two years will not affect provided certain conditions are met
Special Immigrant Juveniles
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a humanitarian form of relief available to noncitizens under the age of 21 who seek the protection of a state juvenile court due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. It provides eligible young people with a means of legalizing their immigration status in the United States.
An individual is eligible for SIJS if he or she:
- Is under 21 years of age;
- Is unmarried;
- Is the subject of an order issued by a juvenile court (i.e., juvenile court, probate court, family court) that finds:
- The child is dependent on the court or legally committed to or under the custody of an agency or department of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State or juvenile court;
- The child’s reunification with his or her parent(s) is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or a similar basis under State law; and
- It is not in the child’s best interest to be returned to his or her country of nationality or last habitual residence or that of his or her parent(s).
SIJS is available to noncitizens who entered the United States in any manner—including without inspection and by way of a false claim to U.S. citizenship.