Even after a husband or wife death, some widows of US Citizens are eligible to apply for a Green Card to live in the US

Until Oct. 28, 2009, you had to have been married to the deceased citizen for at least two years at the time of the deceased citizen’s death, in order to immigrate as the widow or widower of a United States citizen. The US Congress removed this requirement, effective Oct. 28, 2009, giving the opportunity to many widows to apply for a green card even if their spouse died.

In order to apply for a green card to immigrate to the United States as the widow of a citizen, you must prove that you were legally married to a US citizen and that you entered the marriage in good faith, and not solely with the intention to obtain an immigration benefit.

If you are a widow or widower and the immigrant’s petition is already pending or approved, then you do not need to submit anything. Form I-130 will automatically be converted to Form I-360, a petition for American citizens, widows (widowers), or special immigrant. If you have children (single and under 21), they can be included on Form I-360 whether or not your deceased spouse applied for them.

If you are a widow or widower and your spouse did not file a petition prior to death, you can file an I-360 petition yourself as a “next of kin” petition, an American petition, a widow (widower), or special immigrant.

Please note that you must not be divorced or legally separated from the US citizen at the time of death. Your right to immigration as a widow (widow) ends if you remarry. You must apply within 2 years after the death of the citizen.

Also, if your citizen spouse did not have an I-130 at the time of death, you must file an I-360 no later than 2 years after your citizen spouse dies.

If you are the widow (widower) of a U.S. Military Member, there are separate immigration benefits for you under Section 1703 of State Law 108-136. Individuals in these categories can independently apply for the status of “next of kin” on Form I-360.

If you live outside of the US you can have your interview for your green card at your local US Consulate.

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