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EB-4 Visa, Explained

Learn about the cost, processing time, and how to apply for the EB-4 visa

What Is an EB-4 Visa?

The EB-4 visa is an employment-based visa category that allows certain special immigrants to live and work permanently in the United States. It is designed for individuals who qualify under specific categories, including religious workers, broadcasters, certain physicians, employees of international organizations, and armed forces members.


Boundless helps you build a tailored visa plan for every step of the process, from forms to your immigration interview.


EB-4 Visa Cost

The filing fees for the EB-4 visa may vary depending on the specific category and circumstances. Below is a summary of the current filing fees:

For applicants applying from within the U.S.:

  1. Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant):
  • Filing Fee: $435
  • Immigrant Fee: $220

2. Form I-485 (adjustment of status application)

  • Filing Fee: 1140

3. Biometrics

  • Fee: $85 (required for applicants aged 14 to 79)

For applicants applying from outside the U.S.:

  1. Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant):
  • Filing Fee: $435

2. Form DS-260 (green card application):

  • Filing Fee: $345

3. Form I-864 (“Affidavit of Support”):

  • Filing Fee: $120

3. Biometrics

  • Fee: $85 (required for applicants aged 14 to 79)

The cost for the EB-4 visa could go up in the coming months as part of USCIS’s new fee structure proposal. To avoid the higher fees, it’s important to file your application before the rule goes into effect. Learn more about what Boundless can do to help.


EB-4 Processing Times

The current processing time for Form I-360 is 7.7 months, according to USCIS historical processing data.

After the I-360 petition is approved, the applicant must wait for a visa to become available. The processing time can vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin.

Once a visa becomes available, the applicant can proceed to apply for their green card. If the applicant is already present in the United States, they can file Form I-485 for adjustment of status. The average processing time for employment-based I-485 applications is typically September , 2023 months.

For applicants filing from outside the United States, their case will be transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will then forward the application to the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate, where an interview will be scheduled. The wait time for this stage varies depending on the applicant’s country of residence.

To check the progress of your case, you can use the USCIS processing times tool that provides a general estimate of how long it may take to process applications.

It’s important to note that processing times are subject to change, and individual circumstances can also affect the timeline.

U.S. immigration can be complex and confusing. Boundless is here to help. Learn more.


EB-4 Eligibility

To qualify for the EB-4 visa, you must meet the eligibility requirements for one of the specific categories under the employment-based fourth preference. The following are some of the common categories:

  1. Religious Workers: Individuals who are coming to the United States to work in a religious occupation or vocation, such as ministers, priests, or religious professionals.
  2. Broadcasters: Individuals working in a professional capacity as broadcasters for international broadcasting entities, such as the Voice of America.
  3. Certain Physicians: Physicians who are willing to work in a designated underserved area for a specific period of time or who have a waiver of the two-year foreign residence requirement.
  4. Employees of International Organizations: Individuals who have been employed by qualifying international organizations, such as the United Nations or World Bank, and are coming to the United States to continue their work.
  5. Armed Forces Members: Current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces who meet certain criteria, including having served honorably for at least 12 years.

These are just a few examples of the categories under the EB-4 visa. Each category has its own specific requirements, so it is important to review the USCIS website or consult with an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility.

Not sure which visa is right for you? Take our free assessment to get a customized plan. Get started today!


How to Apply

The application process for the EB-4 visa generally involves the following steps:

  1. Filing Form I-360: The petitioner, usually the employer or organization, must file Form I-360 with USCIS. This form serves as the petition to establish the eligibility of the special immigrant under the chosen category. The required evidence and documentation will vary depending on the specific category.
  2. USCIS Review: USCIS will review the Form I-360 petition and supporting documents to determine if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for the chosen category. This review includes verifying the authenticity and accuracy of the provided information.
  3. Approval of Form I-360: If USCIS determines that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria, they will approve the Form I-360 petition. The petitioner and beneficiary will be notified of the approval.
  4. Visa Availability: The availability of visas for the EB-4 category depends on the specific category and country of origin. Some categories may have annual numerical limits, while others may not. It is important to check the visa bulletin issued by the U.S. Department of State to determine visa availability.
  5. Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Once a visa becomes available, the beneficiary can proceed with either adjustment of status or consular processing.
  6. Adjustment of Status: If the beneficiary is already in the United States, they can file Form I-485 to apply for adjustment of status to obtain lawful permanent resident status (green card) without leaving the country. This process involves additional forms, fees, and supporting documents.
  7. Consular Processing: If the beneficiary is outside the United States, they will go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country or country of residence. They will be required to attend an interview, submit additional documentation, and undergo medical and security checks.

Document Checklist

The specific documents required for an EB-4 visa application will depend on the chosen category. Generally, you will need the following:

  • Completed Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant
  • Supporting documents to establish eligibility for the chosen category (e.g., religious worker certificate, employment verification, medical waivers, military records, etc.)
  • Passport-style photographs
  • Proof of identity and nationality
  • Proof of any name changes
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Police clearance certificates
  • Affidavit of support (Form I-864) from a sponsor, if required
  • Medical examination records
  • Visa application and processing fees

Keep in mind this is a general list, and the specific documents required may vary based on individual circumstances and the chosen category.


EB-4 FAQs

Depending on the category, you may need a sponsoring employer, religious organization, international organization, or U.S. Armed Forces to file the petition on your behalf.

Some categories under the EB-4 visa have annual numerical limits, while others do not. The availability of visas for each category is subject to the demand and annual limits set by the U.S. Department of State.

The EB-4 visa is generally tied to a specific employer or organization. However, certain categories, such as religious workers, may have more flexibility in terms of employer changes.

Yes, you can include your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 as dependents on your EB-4 visa application. They may be eligible to obtain derivative benefits and accompany or follow-to-join you in the United States.