Widow(er) Petition Eligibility and Requirements

Family-Based Immigration

Summary

The widow(er) petition (Form I-360) is for people who still want to continue with the immigration process after losing a loved one. Due to the issues and differences a death may create, it helps cut through the process. It isn’t a shortcut, but it can solve many problems that would otherwise prevent the widow(er) from continuing an application.

The widow(er) petition (Form I-360) is for people who still want to continue with the immigration process after losing a loved one. Due to the issues and differences a death may create, it helps cut through the process. Most families apply for this when the one petitioning a relative for immigration benefits suddenly passes. Understanding the widow(er) petition will direct their actions and ensure better processing.

What Is a Widow(er) Petition?

It allows a widow(er) of a US citizen to apply for a green card. It is a mandate stated in the Immigration and Nationality Act. As long as the widow(er) shows that the marriage was in good faith, they can continue with their green card application.

It isn’t a shortcut, but it can solve many problems that would otherwise prevent the widow(er) from continuing an application. It is a way to move forward after an untimely death.

As it is a complex ordeal, applicants should complete Form I-360. They should also have every supporting document to help with the case.

How Do I Know if I Am Eligible for a Widow(er) Petition?

There are several requirements needed before someone can file for a widow(er) petition. They include:

  • You must be admissible to the US. It cannot override other immigration laws.
  • You must have proof that you were in a legitimate relationship at the time of the spouse’s death. There must be proof that the marriage was not only for a green card.
  • You did not undergo a divorce, legal separation, or informal separation before the spouse’s passing.

Be careful about remarrying before applying for the application’s completion.

What Documents Do I Need for the Application?

Aside from the complete Form I-360, you’ll need to provide several documents. These include:

  • Your spouse’s death certificate
  • A copy of your marriage certificate
  • Evidence proving that the spouse had American citizenship

What Do I Do if My Spouse Previously Filed for an Immigration Visa for Me?

If your spouse already filed a Form I-130, then it will convert into a Form I-360. Otherwise, you’ll have to complete the form on your own. If there is a pending Form I-130, you’ll have to inform USCIS about your spouse’s death with a copy of the death certificate and a letter. If they accept it, you won’t have to file another petition, and will only wait for the previous application.

You’ll only have to file for an adjustment of status (Form I-485) after the death. If you’re filing with a Form I-360, you can do it at the same time as the adjustment.

What if I Have a K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa?

If you married within 90 days of the visa requirements, application for adjustment of status is possible after an unexpected death. There is no extra form needed.

However, if your fiancée passed away before the marriage, you won’t be able to adjust. Even if you marry someone else, the K-1 visa can only work for someone who applied for it. You’ll have to go back to your home country and apply for an immigrant visa through the US consulate there.

Is There a Deadline for a Widow(er) Petition?

Yes. A widow(er) must file it within two years of the death of their spouse. There are no exceptions to this rule, and immigration follows this deadline strictly.

Where Do I Submit the Petition?

You can submit it to your nearest USCIS office or the nearest consulate. If you’re unsure, you can contact the USCIS for an updated address.

How Much Does a Widow(er) Petition Cost?

Filing Form I-360 has a fee of $435, which you can pay via money order or check. The payment is not inclusive of any other services.

Next Steps

Because of the details and complexities of a widow(er) petition, you likely need professional legal help. Contact Reeves Immigration Law Group to have a skilled team handle your case. That way, you have support while you go through a difficult time. Our legal team will improve your chances of success with their deep understanding of these petitions.

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