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Immigrant Visas for Religious Workers

There are two types of immigrant visas for religious workers in the United States. One is the SD, for ministers of religion. The second is the SR for certain religious workers. The SD and SR categories are distinct from the Temporary Religious Workers category.

According to the Department of State, in order to qualify as an immigrant religious worker, you must:

  • Have been a member of the religious denomination with a nonprofit, religious organization in the United States for at least two years prior to filing a petition.
  • Have been continuously carrying out the religious vocation or occupation for at least two years prior to filing a petition.
  • For an SD visa, you must be entering the United States to work solely as a minister of your religious denomination.
  • For an SR visa, you must be entering the United States to work in a religious vocation or occupation either in a professional or nonprofessional capacity.

There are several important steps for obtaining an SD or SR visa, including:

  • Filing the petition
  • Paying the appropriate fees, such as filing and processing fees, costs for medical examinations, and translation and photocopying charges.
  • Submitting immigrant visa documents, including:
    • Passport(s) valid for 60 days beyond the expiration date printed on the immigrant visa
    • Affidavit of Support
    • DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application
    • Two 2×2 photographs.
    • Civil documents such as birth and marriage certificates
    • Proof of Financial Support
    • Medical Examination Forms, which should be completed after a medical exam and vaccinations
  • Completing a visa interview: An applicant must bring a valid passport and any other documentation not already submitted to the interview.
  • Completing medical exam and vaccinations before the visa interview.

For more information on obtaining a visa, contact an experienced immigration law attorney serving Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

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