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Posted on September 24, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

The U.S Department of State (DOS) has advised that there are no more employment-based visa numbers available for fiscal year 2009, which concludes September 30, 2009. This affects all employment based categories, but particularly applicants in the employment-based non-ministerial fourth category (EB-4). The EB-4 non-ministerial category includes religious occupation, vocation and professional categories (but not the ministerial category).

The non-ministerial EB-4 category is set to expire September 30, 2009 and individuals in this category must have their adjustment of status applications approved or if they applied via consular processing, they must be admitted into the United States by midnight by September 30, 2009. Unless Congress extends the sunset provision, individuals in the EB-4 non-ministerial category are unable to file Form I-485 Adjustment of Status Applications or consular processing applications after September 30, 2009.

While the I-360 religious worker petitions (ministerial and non-ministerial categories) may still be filed before September 30, 2009, given the unavailability of visas in the EB-4 category the month of September, the Applications to Adjust Status (Form I-485) or applications for consular processing will not be accepted this month. Thus, adjustment of status applications that remained pending will not be approved unless a visa number had already been captured.  

Individuals in the EB-4 ministerial category are eligible to file Adjustment of Status applications until October 1, 2009, when visas in the EB-4 category become available. Please visit the visa bulletin available at the DOS’s Web site.

 

Posted on August 18, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

The U.S. Department of State has released its September 2009 Visa Bulletin.   For the month of September 2009, the visa bulletin displays unavailable visas for the employment-based category – third preference category, other workers, fourth preference category, and certain religious workers. Special Immigrant Religious Workers would be categorized under the employment-based fourth preference category. Recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) began accepting concurrent filing of Form I-360 Religious Worker Petition and Form I-485 Adjustment of Status Application pursuant to the district court’s final order under Ruiz-Diaz v. United States. Pursuant to the order, individuals who file Form I-485 based on a pending Special Immigrant Religious Worker Petitions (Form I-360) or file concurrent I-360 and Form I-485 on or before September 9, 2009 would receive protection from the accrual of any unlawful presence and unauthorized employment that began, up until September 9, 2009.  

Under the September 2009 visa bulletin, beginning September 1, 2009, there will be no visas available for the special immigrant religious worker category – employment-based 4th preference category. It is vital that all pending or approved special immigrant religious worker petitions file their adjustment of status applications before August 31, 2009. USCIS will reject any adjustment of status applications based on a pending or approved Form I-360 seeking special immigrant religious worker classification filed on or after September 1, 2009. More information is available at www.uscis.gov.

 

Call Kraft & Associates at 214-999-9999 and we will answer your questions regarding adjustment of status to permanent residence based on a Special Immigrant Religious Workers Petition.

Posted on August 17, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

A petitioner who sponsored a foreign national based on a temporary religious worker (R-1) visa is required to notify U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within 14 days if the R-1 beneficiary is working less than the required number of hours, or the beneficiary was terminated before the expiration of his or her authorized stay.  

The notification must include the following information:

  • Employer’s information (name, address, telephone number, and FIEN associated with employer, if available);
  • R-1 beneficiary’s information (name, address, telephone number, and FEIN associated with employer;
  • USCIS receipt number of the approved R-1 petition.

Reason for the notification:

  • R-1 beneficiary working less than the required number of hours; or
  • R-1 beneficiary has been terminated before the authorized stay.

 
Employers can notify USCIS via e-mail or via letter mailed to the California Service Center. More information is available at the USCIS Web site.  

Kraft & Associates will answer your R-1 questions. Call us at 214-999-9999.

Posted on July 6, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

With the recent implementation by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) allowing concurrent filing of Form I-360 Religious Worker Petition and Form I-485 Adjustment of Status Application, most applicants want to know what documents to submit with an adjustment of status (AOS) application.

Persons with a pending I-360 religious worker petition are now eligible to file an AOS application before September 9, 2009. The AOS application is used by persons who are in the United States to apply with USCIS to adjust to permanent resident status.

Along with the Adjustment of Status Application on Form I-485, one must remember to submit:

  • a copy of the I-360 receipt notice,
  • two passport style photos,
  • a copy of the applicant’s passport,
  • a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate (along with a certified English translation if the document is not in English), and
  • a medical examination report performed by a designated civil surgeon.

If an AOS applicant has ever been arrested then a court-certified copy of all arrest records and the final disposition of the case is required (excluding traffic tickets).

Individuals between the ages of 14-79 are also required to submit a Biographic Information Sheet on Form G-325A.

The most important thing to remember before sending the AOS application is the filing fee! Do NOT forget to submit a check or money order to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $1010. No additional fee is required for Form I-765 Employment Authorization Application and for Advance Parole on Form I-131 if filing with an AOS application.  

Call us at 214-999-9999 and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Posted on May 19, 2009 by Robert A. Kraft

On March 20, 2009, President Obama signed Public Law 111-9 extending the non-minister special immigrant worker program through September 29, 2009. The program, which had expired on March 6, 2009, includes professional or non-professional capacities within a religious vocation or occupation.

Religious workers seeking to file in professional or non-professional capacities within a religious vocation or occupation must file their special immigrant petitions before September 29, 2009. For more information on the non-minister special immigrant religious worker program, please call us at 214-999-9999.

Posted on December 22, 2007 by Robert A. Kraft

A religious organization in the United States may sponsor an individual from another country who has been a member of a religious denomination for two years immediately preceding the filing of the application. If the appropriate Petition and supporting documentation are submitted, the individual may qualify for a nonimmigrant R visa. If the individual is the United States, the religious organization must file Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, along with the R Classification Supplement in the United States. If the individual’s spouse and children are accompanying or following to join him or her, then Form I-539 should be filed with the I-129 Petition.

The petition must be supported with documentation establishing that the individual seeks to enter the United States solely for the purpose to:   1) carry on the vocation of a minister of that religious organization; or    2) work in a professional capacity for that religious organization at the request of the organization; or

   3) work at the request of the organization in a religious vocation or occupation for the organization (or its § 501(c)(3) affiliate).

The petitioner (religious organization) must show that it is a bona fide, non-profit, tax exempt religious organization under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. This can be shown by submitting copies of the organization’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, financial statements, and letters from the Internal Revenue Service showing that the religious organization is nonprofit and exempt from taxation.

Furthermore, a letter from an authorized official should indicate that the individual has been a member of the religious organization and that the foreign and U.S religious organizations belong to the same religious denomination. The religious organization should provide a sworn statement by an authorized official outlining the hours the individual will work, the duties and responsibilities the individual will perform and the remuneration the individual will receive. Once the R-1 visa is approved, the religious worker, spouse, and children (under 21 years) are granted admission for three years which may be extended for an additional two years.

The R visa allows the individual to apply for permanent residency. If an individual has been in R status for at least two years, a Special Immigrant Petition I-360 may be filed by either the Religious worker or the employer. The Special Immigrant Petition is a step towards obtaining permanent residency. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding Religious Worker visas.