Immigration Process for Widow(er) of A U.S. Citizen 

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Immigration Process for Widow(er) of A U.S. Citizen 

Immigration Process for Widow(er) of A United States Citizen 

If you are a widow or widower and were married to a U.S. citizen for at least 2 years at the time of the deceased citizen’s death, you may be eligible to apply for a green card.  


To immigrate as the widow(er) of a citizen, you must prove that your marriage was legal, authentic and not entered solely in hopes of obtaining immigration benefits. 

Generally, you must demonstrate that you:  

Widow(er) With a Pending or Approved Immigrant Petition 

If your spouse filed Form I-130 for you before they died, you needn’t file anything else. The USCIS will automatically convert their Form I-130 to a Form I-360. To be eligible, you must not have been divorced or legally separated from the U.S. citizen at the time of death; in the event that you’ve remarried, you are no longer eligible to immigrate as a widow(er). 

If you’re currently living in the U.S.

If you currently reside in United States, you’ll file Form l-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status alongside your Form I-360 or after you file Form I-360 (or if your converted Form I-130), regardless of whether it’s pending or approved. If you already filed Form I-485 based on the petition your spouse filed, the USCIS will continue to process your application without you having to do anything else. 

If You Live Outside The U.S.:  

If you’re currently residing outside the United States, the USCIS will hand your approved form off to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over where you live. For more information, see our post on Consular Processing! 

Children of Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen 

If you’ve got children that are under 21 and unmarried, they may also qualify for inclusion on your Form l-360, regardless of whether your deceased spouse had previously filed a petition for them.  

Widow(er) of a U.S. Service Member 

If your spouse was a U.S. service member who was killed in combat, you are eligible for separate benefits under section 1703 of Public Law 108-136 and qualify to self-petition for “immediate relative” status on Form I-360. 

The Filing Process

You must: 

  • Thoroughly read the instructions for Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant; 
  • Complete and sign your Form I-360;  
  • Pay the filing fee, if applicable; and 
  • Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation (as detailed here).  

What To Expect After You File 

Once the USCIS has your application, you will receive a: 

  • Notice of receipt; 
  • A date and time for your biometrics appointment, if applicable; 
  • Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and 
  • A notice of decision. 

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