EB-4 Visa Program
The Fourth Preference (E4) category of the United States employment-based visa program is reserved for what’s legally referred to as Certain Special Immigrants. These EB-4 visa applicants receive 7.1 percent of the annual worldwide limit of employment-based immigrant visas in the United States.
Petitioning for an EB-4 Visa
In order to be approved for the EB-4 visa program, an applicant must be the beneficiary of an approved Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Form I-360) with the exception of certain employees or former employees of the U.S. government abroad. Unlike other employment-based visas, a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor is not required for any Certain Special Immigrants.
There are also a few situations where you may self-petition on your own, without an employer. Check out the official Form I-360 page to see if you are eligible to self-petition as well as for information on the required supporting evidence you’ll need to include with your Form I-360 filing.
Who Qualifies as a Certain Special Immigrant?
There are many subgroups within this category. Here is a list provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
- Broadcasters in the U.S. employed by the International Broadcasting Bureau of the Broadcasting Board of Governors or a grantee of such organization
- Ministers of Religion
- Certain Employees or Former Employees of the U.S. Government Abroad
- Certain Former Employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government
- Certain Former Employees of the U.S. Government in the Panama Canal Zone
- Certain Former Employees of the Panama Canal Company or Canal Zone Government on April 1st, 1979
- Iraqi and Afghan interpreters/translators who have worked directly with the United States armed forces or under Chief of Mission authority as a translator/interpreter for a period of at least 12 months and meet requirements. This classification has an annual numeric limitation of 50 visas.
- Iraqi and Afghan nationals who have provided faithful and valuable service while employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for not less than one year on or after March 20th, 2003 and prior to September 30, 2013, or in Afghanistan for not less than one year after October 7th, 2001, and have experienced an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of that employment.
- Certain Foreign Medical Graduates (Adjustments Only)
- Certain Retired International Organization Employees
- Certain Unmarried Sons and Daughters of International Organization Employees
- Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased International Organization Employees
- Special Immigrant Juveniles (no family member derivatives; Adjustments Only)
- Persons Recruited Outside of the United States Who Have Served or are Enlisted to Serve in the U.S. Armed Forces
- Certain retired NATO-6 civilians
- Certain Unmarried Sons and Daughters of NATO-6 civilians
- Certain Surviving Spouses of deceased NATO-6 civilian employees
- Persons who are beneficiaries of petitions or labor certification applications filed prior to September 11th, 2001, if the petition or application was rendered void due to a terrorist act on September 11th, 2001
- Certain Religious Workers
Since many of these subgroups are loosely defined, you’ll want to speak with an experienced immigration expert or attorney to find out if you qualify. You can also look up helpful information on the USCIS website.