EB-4 green cards are the wildcards in the EB green card deck. The EB-4 category covers “special immigrants;” the problem is that many individuals do not know exactly what “special immigrants” entails and if they are even qualified to apply for green cards. With only 10,000 green cards available for these immigrants to establish lawful permanent residence in the United States each year, it is important to determine if you hold “special immigrant” status. The following explicates the proper qualifications for this visa.
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WHO QUALIFIES FOR THE EB-4 GREEN CARD?
The Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.) lists the types of individuals who qualify for the EB-4 green card:
- Individuals who serve as clergy members or professionals for a nonprofit religious organization
- A worker of foreign origin who, for at least 15 years has served the U.S. government (also includes the American Institute in Taiwan)
- Employees of the Panama Canal Treaty who have served for a minimum of one year, or employees who after at least five years were faced with job endangerment due to treaty ratification (less used category: natives of Panama who served the U.S. government for a minimum of 15 years and retired)
- Individuals who entered the United States before January 10, 1978 and has remained in the U.S. as a nonimmigrant for the purpose of studying or practicing medicine (less used category)
- Individuals of Afghan nationality who have served for the U.S. government and are under threat because of said work for the U.S. government (currently only 3,000 visas are being issued to individuals who fall into this category)
- Individuals of Iraqi nationality who have served for or on behalf of the U.S. government, and are under threat because of said work for the U.S. government
- Individuals who have lived in the U.S. for a set time who are involved or were involved with certain international organizations
- Juveniles of foreign nationality who were abandoned, abused, or neglected by their immigrant parents and were therefore declared a dependent on the U.S. juvenile courts
- Individuals of foreign nationality who enlisted for the United States military (outside of the U.S.) after October 1, 1978 and admirably served for a minimum of 12 years
- Individuals who are employed by NATO (civilian)
- Individuals to whom the Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors employs
After determining which category applies to you it is imperative to check to see if the category has an additional set of requirements in order to be qualified. If so, you must review the requirements for applying for a visa under the specific category. It is important that you talk to your immigration attorney to determine if you are eligible.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN EB-4 GREEN CARD
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) distributes I-360 forms for individuals who wish to apply for the EB-4 visa under one of the above categories. Speak with your immigration attorney to further discuss how to go about completing this form and applying for your visa.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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