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Widow(er)s of Deceased U.S. Citizens


If you are the widow(er) of a U.S. citizen, a recent change in the law may affect your ability to immigrate.  Section 568(c) of Public Law 111-83 amended the Immigration and Nationality Act so that you may be eligible to immigrate, even if you and your deceased spouse were married for less than 2 years when your spouse died.  This change took effect on October 28, 2009, when the President signed the new law.  As a result, you may now file Form I-360 for Special immigrant classification as a widow/widower, even if you were married less than 2 years when your spouse died.

You must still file your Form I-360 no later than 2 years after the citizen’s death.  If your spouse died before October 28, 2009, however, and you were married for less than 2 years, you can file a Form I-360 for Special Immigrant Classification as a widow/widower, so long as you do so no later than October 28, 2011.

Your eligibility to immigrate as the widow(er) of a U.S. citizen ends if you remarry before you immigrate.


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Shah Peerally is an attorney licensed in California practicing immigration law and debt settlement. He has featured as an expert legal analyst for many TV networks such as NDTV, Times Now and Sitarree TV. Articles about Shah Peerally and his work have appeared on newspapers such as San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, US Fiji Times, Mauritius Le Quotidien, Movers & Shakers and other prominent international newspapers. His work has been commended by Congress women Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee. He has a weekly radio show on KLOK 1170AM and frequently participates in legal clinics in churches, temples and mosques. His law group, Shah Peerally Law Group, has represented clients all over the United States constantly dealing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Custom Enforcement(ICE) and CBP (Customs Border Patrol (CBP) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This department was formerly known as the Immigration and Nationality Services (INS).