The EB-4 non-minister special immigrant religious worker program was about to expire on Sept. 30, 2017. This meant that non-ministers (such as religious sisters or brothers, or other lay religious workers in religious vocation or religious occupation categories) could submit applications for permanent resident status only until Sept. 30, 2017. Fortunately, on Sept. 8, 2017, Congress passed H.R. 601, Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017. This continuing resolution temporarily extended federal government operations until Dec. 8, 2017, as well as the non-minister special immigrant religious worker program until Dec. 8, 2017.
During this temporary extension, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will continue to adjudicate and accept I-485 application for adjustment of status as well as I-360 petitions (immigrant visa petitions) filed by non-minister religious workers here in the United States. The Department of State will continue to process immigrant visa applications submitted by non-minister religious workers abroad. However, the Dec. 8, 2017 deadline is quickly approaching. We hope that Congress comes together in the near future and provide a longer extension for the religious workers who depend on this program and provide valuable ministry in the United States.
Please note that the non-minister special immigrant religious worker program’s sunset date does not impact the R-1 (temporary) visa program, which continues to operate as normal.
If you are a RIS client, please contact your CLINIC attorneys for case-specific questions regarding the non-minister sunset provision and how this impacts the foreign-born religious workers who are currently serving your organizations.