Successful I-360 Widow Petition for Immigration Benefits Despite Short Marriage
June 10, 2024

Table of ContenTS

At the Law Offices of Sabrina Li, we successfully helped a widow and her children secure immigration benefits despite the tragic and sudden loss of her U.S. citizen husband just three months into their marriage. Faced with removal proceedings, we navigated the legal complexities to obtain a favorable outcome, demonstrating our commitment to protecting our clients' futures.

Removal Proceedings Upon Entering the United States

Our client and her children faced removal proceedings immediately upon their arrival in the United States, despite her lawful attempt to enter with a tourist visa. After entering the United States, she married a United States citizen and wanted our assistance with obtaining legal status.

Short-Lived Marriage and Sudden Loss

Tragically, just three months into their marriage, her U.S. citizen husband suffered a fatal heart attack. They were in the process of applying for green cards for her and her children, but his untimely death left the application incomplete. Our client was devastated and worried about how this would impact her and her children’s ability to obtain immigration benefits.

Strategic Legal Action for Immigration Relief

Despite the petitioner’s death, our firm remained dedicated to protecting our client and her children. We first secured an order from an Immigration Judge to administratively close their removal proceedings, allowing us the necessary time to file an I-360 self-petition for her and her children as the widow of a U.S. citizen. This ensured they would not face the threat of deportation while the I-360 was pending with USCIS.

Our team meticulously prepared and filed a well-documented I-360 petition. Although the marriage was brief, we provided extensive proof of the marriage and assisted our client in providing a detailed personal account of her relationship.

Achieving a Positive Outcome

Understandably, our client was anxious throughout the process. However, when she finally received approval two and a half years later, she knew she had made the right choice in retaining the Law Offices of Sabrina Li to represent her and her children.

Understanding the Widow/Widower Immigration Petition Process

The widow or widower petition enables the spouse of a deceased U.S. citizen to self-petition for immediate relative status using Form I-360. To apply, the following steps and requirements must be met:

  1. File Form I-360: The widow(er) must submit Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, to USCIS.
  1. Required Evidence:
  • Proof of the U.S. citizenship of the deceased spouse.
  • Marriage certificate to demonstrate the marriage to the deceased U.S. citizen.
  • Death certificate of the U.S. citizen spouse.
  • Evidence that the marriage was not terminated prior to the death of the U.S. citizen spouse.
  1. Filing Deadline: The petition must be filed within two years of the U.S. citizen spouse’s death.
  1. Eligibility Criteria:
  • The petitioner was married to a U.S. citizen at the time of the citizen’s death.
  • The petitioner was not legally separated from the U.S. citizen at the time of death.
  • The petitioner has not remarried.
  1. Adjustment of Status: If the widow(er) is in the United States, they may be eligible to apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident after the I-360 petition is approved.

This process allows the widow(er) to seek immigration benefits based on their marriage to a U.S. citizen, even after the citizen’s death, without the need for the U.S. citizen to have filed a petition on their behalf before passing away.

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li: Providing Expert Legal Help to Our Clients at Their Dark Moment

Sabrina Li, our founding attorney, is certified by the State Bar of California as a specialist in immigration and nationality law. Our accomplished legal team has extensive experience with I-360 self-petitions. If you or someone you know is facing a similar situation and requires the expertise of skilled professionals, look no further than the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Contact us today at (213) 375-8096 or We are fully committed to providing the assistance you need, so please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here for you.

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