Non-Minister Sunset Temporarily Extended until September 30, 2017
On May 5, 2017 President Trump signed H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, which authorizes appropriations that fund the operation of the Federal Government through September 30, 2017. The Act also included an extension of the Non-Minister Permanent Residence Program in INA Section 101(a)(27)(C)(ii)(II) and (III) until September 30, 2017. The program allows international non-minister religious workers the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status in the U.S.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows qualified “Special Immigrants” to come to the United States as minister and non-minister religious workers and to apply for permanent residence. The religious worker section of the law allowing “non-ministers” to become permanent residents was originally enacted in 1990 as a “sunset provision” meaning it has an expiration date and must be renewed by Congress if the program is to continue. It has never been made a permanent law. As mentioned above, the law was renewed again, but was only given a brief extension. It will expire on September 30, 2017 unless Congress acts.
IN ADDITION, there is still an immigrant visa (Visa Bulletin) quota limit currently affecting ALL international religious workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and India. Nationals from these countries may still face processing delays in applying for permanent residence.
Please note that the neither the sunset nor the immigrant visa quota affects the R-1 Visa (temporary visa) program. The R-1 Visa program remains valid.
We strongly encourage you to inform your religious organization about this program and let your elected representatives know how important this program is to you and for the church’s work in the U.S. If you have specific questions please contact your RIS attorney.
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Photo Courtesy of Catholic Extension