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Religious Immigration Services

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We are a group of immigration attorneys who specialize in religious worker immigration law. We assist Catholic archdioceses, dioceses, and religious communities in navigating this complex area of law by offering consultations, advice, and preparation of legal filings of immigration petitions and applications. We are fully aware of how complicated the process above can be, and we have firsthand experience observing how legal violations by a sponsor or a foreign-born religious worker can impact an organization’s or worker’s future immigration benefits. Our expertise in this field helps our clients to easily move through the process and have their matters resolved in the most expeditious way possible. We look forward to assisting you with your immigration case.

Religious Immigration Services is currently accepting new cases. Please contact us at or 301.565.4832 to learn more.

To learn more, download the RIS flyer. For new clients, please contact RIS Director, Miguel Naranjo at 301.565.4832.


Travel Warning to ALL International Religious Workers in the U.S.

The past 48 hours have demonstrated how quickly the U.S. immigration landscape can change. President Trump’s executive order banning individuals from certain countries entry into the U.S. has been severely criticized not only here but also around the world. As with his other recent executive orders, clarity, guidance, and even legality of the orders are in question. The current travel ban is limited to people from seven countries:

  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Sudan
  • Libya
  • Yemen
  • Somalia

Screened refugees, temporary visa holders, and even lawful permanent residents of the U.S. from these countries have been removed from international flights or detained by Customs and Border Protection officers at international airports across the country. In response, there have been several Federal District Court orders requiring CBP to not remove people from the U.S. (at ports of entry) and also to allow access to legal representation if a person is detained. It is not clear if CBP is fully complying with these orders. The events of this weekend are unprecedented in modern U.S. history. In addition, this may not be the end of the administration issuing executive orders and policies that will negatively affect immigrants. The situation is very much in flux.

Given the uncertainty of this matter, we feel it appropriate to warn ALL international religious workers serving in the U.S. (regardless of nationality) to re-evaluate travel outside the U.S. If you have a trip scheduled or you have traveled to any of the listed countries above in the last 5 years you should talk to your immigration attorney before departing the U.S.

If you are a religious worker from one of the countries listed above (regardless of your immigration status – temporary visa or lawful permanent resident) you should not travel outside the U.S. and you should speak with your immigration attorney before you consider leaving the U.S. If you depart the U.S., you may not be permitted to return. This travel ban is scheduled for 90 days but may continue longer. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional clarification once we learn anything. Please call your RIS attorney if you have any questions about travel during this time.


Recent RIS Blog Articles

A new schedule of filing fees from USCIS takes effect Dec. 23, 2016. Applications or petitions mailed, postmarked, or otherwise filed on or after Dec. 23, 2016 must include the new fee. Below is a list of the most common petitions and applications used by religious workers and the current and new fee schedule:

Form Current Fee New Fee – 12/23/2016

I-129 Petition

Miguel Naranjo, director of CLINIC’s Religious Immigration Service, has written a short analysis of the implications of the State Department’s May Visa Bulletin, released on April 12. 

International religious workers in the U.S. and abroad who are in the process of applying for permanent residence may experience significant case processing delays in the next several months, according to the State Department’s Visa Bulletin for May 2016.

On September 30th, 2015, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap measure which continues funding the government at current levels and keeps the government open until December 11, 2015. The CR reauthorized the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program as well as three other immigration-related programs, the Conrad 30 Program, the EB-5 Program, and the E-Verify Program until December 11, 2015. Finding a more permanent extension for the Special Immigrant Non-Minister Religious Worker Program remains an ongoing issue for CLINIC Advocacy.

The non-minister permanent residence program that includes religious brothers and sisters (religious vocations) and other non-minister religious positions (religious occupations) is scheduled to expire on 09/30/2015 unless it is renewed by Congress. If past experience is an indicator, we have every reason to believe that the program will be extended as it has been renewed several times.