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What Is an EB-4 Visa?

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The laws regarding immigration into the United States are complex and subject to change. Perhaps, this is most evident with EB-4 visas. Although these visas are described as fourth-priority employment-based visas, they have some attributes that make them more desirable than visas in the higher preference categories.

Because the process of determining qualifications and applying for visas can be so confusing and mistakes can cause an application to be delayed or rejected, many applicants find it useful to consult a San Diego EB-4 lawyer to provide advice and assist with the process. Our attorneys at Hacking Immigration Law, LLC could also prepare you for any legal obstacles that may arise during the application process.

Attributes of an EB-4 Visa in San Diego

An EB-4 visa is a type of immigrant visa for applicants seeking to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States. This is not to be confused with non-immigrant visas for those studying, working, or visiting on a temporary basis.

U.S. law establishes four categories of employment-based immigration visas in order of priority, and the EB-4 visa is the lowest priority category relating to employment. Described as a visa for "certain special immigrants," the EB-4 visas are not as widely available as other visas. Special immigrants are entitled to only 7.1% of employment-based immigration visas granted each year.

However, fewer applicants may fit the qualifications than in other categories. Unlike the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visas, labor certification is not required from the Department of Labor before a visa may be applied for, and many of these applicants do not need to have a job waiting for them. A lawyer in San Diego could explain the specifics of an EB-4 visa and how they apply to a particular situation.

Qualifications for an Employment Fourth Preference EB-4 Visa

This visa category seems to be a catch-all collection of visa types that do not fit into other categories. It includes a long list of individuals with very specialized situations, including:

  • Ministers of religion with a religious vocation, certain religious workers of a religious organization, special immigrant religious workers of any religious occupation, and any religious worker of any religious denomination
  • Spouses and unmarried children below 21 years old of a special immigrant religious worker are also eligible for the said visa.
  • Broadcasters in the U.S. employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau or a qualified affiliate
  • Certain current or former employees of the U.S. government abroad
  • Certain former employees associated with the Panama Canal
  • Iraqi and Afghan interpreters and translators with certain experience
  • Iraqi and Afghan nationals who worked for the U.S., who now face threats as a consequence of employment, and those who worked for the International Security Assistance Force and the Armed Forces
  • Certain retired international organization employees and their family members
  • Certain foreign medical graduates
  • Those recruited outside the U.S. who served in the U.S. military 
  • Juveniles considered dependent on U.S. juvenile courts
  • Retired Armed Forces members who served on active duty for 12 years
  • Special immigrant juveniles

Each subcategory has its own unique qualifications as well as requirements for proving those qualifications and applying for an EB-4 visa, so it’s necessary to consult a San Diego attorney and gather supporting documents when going through this application process. Just check the visa bulletin for updates and the National Visa Center for the next step of the application. Don’t forget to take note of your priority date as well, in case you need it.

Talk to an Experienced San Diego Visa Attorney Today

Although those seeking immigrant visas are not required to make use of professional legal representation in the application process, many applicants find it advantageous to do so because of the complexity of regulations, requirements, and procedures. An experienced San Diego EB-4 visa lawyer could help you determine if you are qualified for this type of visa or if other employment-sponsored visas for a foreign worker would be a better fit.

Additionally, a knowledgeable immigration attorney could explain the requirements, help ensure that all paperwork is filled out properly, and provide guidance throughout the process. Call today to learn how an attorney from our firm could help with your visa application.

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