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Defense of Marriage Act, religious workers visas and the next legal clinic

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The scales of justice
The scales of justice

By Kieran C. O’Sullivan, Immigration Counselor with the Irish Pastoral Centre in  Boston

Thank you …

We had a good turnout at our clinic this wee where Attorney Dan Harrington who specializes in immigration and citizenship cases donated his time assisting immigrants on immigration and US citizenship related matters. Thanks also to our legal program volunteers Neil Hurley and Sheila Gleeson who donate many hours each month to our mission.

Immigration marriage related case - DOMA

When the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down last year by the US Supreme Court, US citizens were allowed file for their same sex spouses. I had a call this week from an Irish lady in a nearby state who was hoping to file for adjustment of status after her marriage to a US citizen. Another leading Boston attorney Chris Lavery is now dealing with the case.

The R visa

I was asked recently about a visa for religious workers. The non-immigrant visa category for religious workers is the R visa category. The criteria for classification of an R religious worker are:
• The alien is a member of a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the US.
• The religious denomination and its affiliate, if applicable, are exempt from taxation, or the religious denomination qualifies for tax-exempt status.
• The alien has been a member of the organization for two years immediately preceding admission.
• The alien is entering the US solely to carry on the vocation of a minister of that denomination, or
• At the request of the organization, the alien is entering the US to work in a religious vocation or occupation for that denomination or for an organization affiliated with the denomination, whether in a professional capacity or not, or
• The alien is the spouse or child of an R-1 nonimmigrant who is accompanying or following to join him or her, and
• The Alien has resided and been physically present outside the US for the immediate prior year, except for brief visits for business or pleasure, if he or she has previously spent five years in this classification.

I should add that R visa applications frequently draw intense scrutiny at USCIS because of past fraud in the category. Anyone who thinks they might be eligible for an R visa should first consult with an experienced immigration attorney prior to submitting an application to the USCIS.

Next Legal & Immigration Clinic

Our next legal clinic will be on Tuesday November 5, 2013 at 6:30 PM in the Banshee, 934 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester. Attorneys Chris Lavery and Dan Harrington will be present to answer queries on all aspects of immigration and US citizenship. We will also review legal permanent residency and US citizenship applications on that evening. All information remains confidential between our service users and pro-bono attorneys.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information contained in it is provided to inform generally, and is not intended as a substitute for individual advice. Immigration law is subject to frequent changes and individual circumstances can affect the application of certain legal provisions. For individual legal advice, please contact the Irish Pastoral Centre directly regarding upcoming legal clinics or consultation with an immigration attorney.

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