According to the USCIS, generally, the spouse of the religious worker and the children who are under 21-yers of age may apply to adjust their status on the same basis as the religious worker seeks to adjust his/her religious worker status. The classes of special immigration eligibility and corresponding codes are:

Minister of religion SD6
Spouse of minister – based on “minister of religion” approval SD7
Child of minister – based on “minister of religion” approval SD8
Other religious worker SR6
Spouse of other religious worker – based on “other religious worker” approval SR7
Child of other religious worker – based on “other religious worker” approval SR8

Documentation and Evidence

The USCIS requires the following documentation to adjust the status of a religious worker. An experienced immigration lawyer can explain which documentation is need for aliens seeking direct approval as a special immigrant religious worker (green card approval) from abroad.

  • Form I-485 – the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) – along with the correct fee
  • A copy of Form I-797 (the approval notice) – “for the principal applicant’s special immigrant religious worker petition”
  • An employment letter from the beneficiary’s Form I-360 employer petitioner
  • Two passport-type photographs
  • A copy, with photographs, of a government-issued identity document (such as a current driver’s license)
  • A copy of the applicant’s birth certificate
  • A copy of the “passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable)”
  • A copy of the “passport page with admission or parole stamp (if applicable)”
  • A copy of Form I-194 (the arrival/departure record) or a “copy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admission or parole stamp on the travel document (if applicable)”
  • Evidence the applicant continually maintained authorized legal status since entering the US
  • Any other evidence needed to show that a bar to adjustment doesn’t apply or evidence to show that the applicant qualifies for an exemption
  • Form I-693 – a medical exam and vaccination record report
  • If applicable, the special immigrant religious worker should provide a “certified police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions”
  • If applicable, Form I-601 – an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility – or other equivalent evidence should be provided
  • Other documentation that may be required

Documentation for Derivatives

Spouses and child who are filing as a derivative applicant of the special immigration religious worker should provide:

  • If applicable, a copy of documents confirming the relationship of the derivative applicant to the principal applicant. Common examples are marriage certificates, birth certificate, and adoption decrees
  • A “copy of an approval notice (Form I-797) for the principal applicant’s Form I-360; and
  • A “copy of the approval or receipt notice (Form I-797) for the principal applicant’s Form I-485 or a copy of the principal applicant’s permanent resident card (Form I-551), (if applicable and not filing together with the principal applicant).”

Adjudication of special immigration religious worker status

The officer who rules on the application should review the application to make sure it’s complete and that the documentation verifies that the applicant is eligible. The file should include:

  • Evidence of the approved Form I-360
  • A denominational certification for religious organizations that are affiliated with a religious denomination.

The adjudicating officer:

  • May submit a Request for Evidence – if documentation/evidence is missing
  • Should confirm that there was a satisfactory USCIS site visit
  • Should review the duties the special immigrant religious worker will perform to ensure the applicant is “properly classified as a minister or other religious worker based on the underlying petition.”
  • Should review whether the applicant is not a minster but is a religious worker. In this case, the adjudicating officer will need to check that the adjudication adjustment can be done – before the applicable sunset date

“The officer must schedule the applicant for an in-person interview at the appropriate field office and transfer jurisdiction to that field office for final adjudication in cases where:

  • The officer cannot make a decision based on the evidence of record – or
  • The applicant does not meet the criteria for an interview waiver.

The applicant becomes a Lawful Permanent Resident as of the date the adjustment application is approved.

In cases of denial, the adjudicating officer must set forth the reason(s) for the denial in writing. If the petition is denied, the petitioner can, with the help of a skilled immigration lawyer – “file a motion to reopen or reconsider.”

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