Ministers of Religion

By December 26, 2016 No Comments

An alien entering the United States to carry on the voca
tion of minister of a religious denomination, and the spouse
or child of such an alien, accompanying or following to join
him, are designated as special immigrants.

The statute does not define “minister of a religious de
nomination,” but the regulations declare that this term
means a person duly authorized by a recognized religious
sect or denomination to conduct religious worship, and
to perform other duties usually performed by a regularly
ordained pastor or clergyman.

The statute prescribes three conditions for achieving
special classification under this section: (1) the applicant
has been carrying his vocation of minister continuously
for at least two years prior to his application for admission
to the United States.

However, a minister will not be dis
qualified if he has been prevented from meeting this 2-year
requirement by circumstances beyond his control, e.g. con
finement in a concentration camp or flight as a refugee;
(2) the applicant must seek to enter the United States solely
to carry on his vocation as minister; and (3) his services
must be needed and requested by a bona fide religious
organization in the United States.

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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