How to Apply for a Green Card as a Widow or Widower of a U.S. Citizen
You may be eligible to apply for a permanent resident card (green card) if you are a widow or widower and were married to a US citizen at the time of their death.
Who is eligible for a green card
Generally, you may be eligible for a green card if you:
- Married to a US citizen at the time of the death of the spouse;
- Have a Form I-130 pending, or an already approved Form I-130, Petition for a Foreign Relative, or you have filed a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow (uh) or Special Immigrant within two years of your spouse’s death (or no later than October 28). , 2011 if your citizen spouse died before October 28, 2009 and you were married for less than two years);
- Not remarried; and
- Accepted in the USA.
If you are a Widow (widower) with a pending or approved immigrant petition
Please note that you do not have to be divorced or legally separated from the US citizen at the time of death to be eligible. Your right to immigration as a widow (widower) ends if you remarry.
If you live in the United States, you can file Form I-485, Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Change Status, along with Form I-360 or after you file Form I-360 (or if your converted Form I-130), whether it is pending or approved. If you have already filed Form I-485 based on a petition filed by your spouse, processing of that application will continue and you will not need to file another one.
If you live outside the United States, your approved form will be sent overseas to the United States embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over where you live.
Children of a widow or widower of a U.S. citizen
If you have children (single and under the age of 21), they can be included on Form I-360 whether or not your deceased spouse filed for them.
Widow or widower of a U.S. Military Member
If you are the surviving spouse of a deceased U.S. Military Member who is killed in action, there are separate immigration benefits under Section 1703 of State Law 108-136. You can apply for next of kin status yourself by completing Form I-360.
The process to apply for a Green Card or Permanent Resident Card for a Widow or Widower of a U.S. Citizen can be complex, you can apply by yourself using the free application forms or you can use the help of an immigration attorney to help you process your application.