What is Form I-360 for Widow(er)s?
U.S. immigration Form I-360 (Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant) includes a specific category for widows and widowers who are seeking immigration benefits in the United States. This category is known as the “Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen classification.
If your U.S. citizen spouse dies before sponsoring you for a green card (by filing Form I-130 “Petition for Alien Relative” on your behalf), you may still be eligible to receive a green card by “self-petitioning” and filing Form I-360. In this guide, we’ll cover:
Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens may be eligible for immigration benefits if they meet certain criteria. Here are the main eligibility requirements for Form I-360:
- Marriage: The widow(er) must have been legally married to the U.S. citizen at the time of the citizen’s death. The marriage must have been “bona fide,” meaning it was entered into in good faith and not solely for immigration purposes. If you were divorced or legally separated from your spouse at the time of their death, you would not be considered eligible to apply.
- Good Moral Character: The widow(er) must demonstrate good moral character. This means the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they do not have a prior criminal history or history of previous immigration violations.
- Intent to Marry: The widow(er) must establish that they did not remarry, with the exception of widows or widowers who remarried after age 60 or after the age of 50 if disabled. If you remarry, you are generally considered ineligible to file Form I-360.
- Filing Deadline: Generally, the widow(er) must file the Form I-360 petition within two years of the U.S. citizen spouse’s death. However, USCIS has the discretion to excuse late filings in certain circumstances.
It’s important to note that the widow(er) may need to provide supporting documentation to establish their eligibility, such as proof of the marriage, evidence of the U.S. citizen spouse’s death, and other relevant documents.
The current filing fee for Form I-360 is $435. The fee can be paid at the time of filing via money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
The current processing time for Form I-360 averages 15-17.5 months, depending on which USCIS service center is processing your application.
Processing times are always subject to change and can vary depending on your specific circumstances. For the most up-to-date estimate for your processing time, visit USCIS’ site.
Do I need to file Form I-360 if my deceased spouse filed Form I-130 for me previously?
If your U.S. citizen spouse filed Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) for you before their death, you do not need to file a separate Form I-360 petition. USCIS will automatically convert your pending Form I-130 to a Form I-360 and continue processing your application.
Can I include my children on my Form I-360?
Unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included on your Form I-360, regardless of whether your deceased spouse had previously filed a petition for them.
Can I stay in the U.S. while my Form I-360 is pending?
Generally, speaking, it is possible to remain in the U.S. while your Form I-360 is pending. If your current immigration status expires before your Form I-360 or green card application is approved, this may have consequences for your ability to work in the U.S. and travel outside the country. In this case, it may be best to speak with an immigration attorney about your options. You can get your legal immigration questions answered by independent attorneys in Boundless’ network with our Ask My Attorney program. Learn more here.