Qualifying U.S. Work Experience for Special Immigrant Religious Workers

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On April 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Shalom Pentecostal Church v. Acting Secretary DHS, 783 F.3d 156 (3d Cir. 2015), found the regulatory requirements that qualifying work experience gained in the United States must have been acquired in lawful status (herein “lawful status requirements”) in 8 CFR 204.5(m)(4) and (11) to be beyond the Department’s legal authority (ultra vires). The court found that the statute was clear and unambiguous and that the regulation was inconsistent with the statute. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not seek further review of this decision.

Please read the USCIS Memorandum for more details.

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