What is the EB4 Visa
In 2017, there were about 44.5 million immigrants residing in the United States, says an article by the Migration Policy Institute. These immigrants accounted for 17% of the total 163.7 people in the civilian labor force of the nation in the same year. People from all over the world seem to wish to immigrate to the US in search of superior living and working conditions. One way to do so is via the EB4 visa.
The EB4 visa is an employment-based, fourth preference green card for the “special immigrants” category of religious workers. Apart from religious workers, the EB4 visa is also reserved for special immigrant juveniles, broadcasters, G-4 international organizations or NATO-6 employees and their family members, international employees of the US government abroad, members of the armed forces, Panama Canal Zone employees, physicians, Afghan and Iraqi translators and Afghan and Iraqi nationals who have been involved in Faith Service, in support of US operations.
Also read: EB4 Visa Eligibility
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This visa allows immigrants to enter America, if they have been accepted by an employer to work with them permanently, without an Employment Authorization Document. With this visa, you can also live in the US permanently, travel in and out of the country and after a certain point, change jobs and shift to another state in the US.
How to Apply for EB4 Visa
The application procedure involves both the employer and the foreign employee. First, the employer needs to file a petition for his employee to the USCIS, by filling up Form I-360 online. If it is approved, the employee becomes eligible to apply for the EB4 visa at the nearest US embassy/consulate in their home country.
Also read: EB4 Visa Fees
In some special cases, you, as an employee, can file the petition for yourself and get your application checked by the USCIS to confirm if you are eligible for the visa. If you are a broadcaster, the US Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will submit the petition for you. You can be associated with media work but cannot have a support role in the BBG.
After your petition is submitted, it is up to the USCIS to process and decide the status of your visa. If it is approved, further processing is conducted by the National Visa Center. After your visa application has been approved by the USCIS, you can proceed with the rest of the application by filling up Form DS-261 online, using the case number allotted to you by the USCIS.
EB4 Visa Processing
The priority dates have to be kept in mind while determining the processing time of the EB4 visa. Your priority date would be the day when the USCIS has received your petition. When this date matches the final action date released by the Department of State, it becomes your “current date.” This means that an immigrant visa number is now available for you and you can proceed to the next step, which is the visa interview at the embassy/consulate.
If you are already in the US, on a non-immigrant visa, you can get your status adjusted to immigrant status by filing an I-485 application.
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