Filling Out USCIS Form I-360 Self Petition as a Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen

If your U.S. citizen husband or wife died before filing an I-130 visa petition for you, here's how to fill out the Form I-360 visa petition that replaces it, on your own.

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Form I-360 is the petition form you use to let U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) know that you were married to a U.S. citizen who recently died, and that you are interested in pursuing a green card based on that marriage but, of course, without your spouse’s help.

If USCIS approves your I-360 petition, you may be able to get permanent resident status (a “green card”) in the United States, as described in “Eligibility for a Green Card as the Widow(er) of a U.S. Citizen.”

You want to avoid mistakes in filling out Form I-360. If USCIS returns it you or asks you for further information, this could slow down or derail the process of getting your green card. This article will help you fill out Form I-360 correctly.

Part 1: Information About You

Part 1 begins by asking for your full name. Your “family name” for box 1a is your “last name.” Some people have two names as their “family name” or “last name,” maybe separated by a hyphen. If this is the case, put both those names in box 1a.

If your name won’t fit in the box when you’re typing or writing it, you have two choices. If the information you need to put in a box won’t fit when you’re typing, you can handwrite the information in the box. This is a good solution if the information will fit in the box if you write it in, as long as your handwriting is not too small. If the amount of information you need to put in a box is just too much, even for handwriting, you’ll need to give your answer on a continuation sheet that you attach to the end of the I-360 form. Every continuation sheet should contain your name and your alien registration number if you have one, and be signed and dated by you. Indicate what part and item number of the I-360 your answer pertains to.

Your “given name” for box1b is your “first name.” Box 1c asks for your “middle name.” Not everyone has a middle name. Some people have more than one. If you don’t have any middle name, you can leave box 1c empty.

In fact, if the answer to any question on the form is “none,” or if the question doesn’t apply to you, you should not write or type anything in the box. USCIS will understand an empty box to mean “none” or “not applicable.”

You won’t put anything in box 2, because you’re filing the petition as an individual, not a business.

Only fill in box 3 if your postal mail is sent to you “in care of” (C/O) another person.

Box 11 asks for your “A-number.” This means your alien registration number. If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry. It’s very possible you don’t have one, especially if you’ve never filed any immigration petition before or never been in immigration proceedings. You probably know your A-number if you have one, but if you’re not sure whether you have one, check all the documents you’ve ever received from U.S. immigration authorities — you might see your A-number there.

You won’t put anything in box 12, because you’re not a business.

Part 2: Your Type of Case

Check the box next to “b. Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen.” Don’t check any other boxes.

Part 3: More Information About You!

You might wonder why the form is asking you to repeat your name, address, Social Security number, and A-number. That’s just because Form I-360 is used in other situations where the person filing the form and the “person for whom this petition is being filed” can be different people. In your case, all the information in Part 3 is about you.

In line 12, check the box for “Widowed.” Don’t check any other box.

You only have to fill out the information under line 13 if you’re “in the United States.” However, if you’re in the U.S. for a couple days a tourist and decide to file the I-360 before you leave, don’t fill this part out. It’s only for people who are living in the U.S. (on a temporary visa, for example) and who expect to be in the U.S. for a while after filing the application.

Box 13b asks for your “I-94” number. The I-94 is an arrival/departure record that the U.S. government keeps so it can make sure you leave the country if and when you have to. If you entered the U.S. a while ago, you might have been given a paper I-94 form, so you can check that for the number. More likely, you were given no paper I-94, and you might need to check your I-94 online to get the number.

Boxes 13c and 13d ask for your passport number and your travel document number. Provide one or the other. In other words, if you give your passport number, a travel document number is not necessary.

For your “current nonimmigrant status” in box 13g, it’s best to use the visa designation, such as “H-1B” or “J-2.” If you did not need a visa to enter the country, you can say “visa waiver” or, especially if you are Canadian, “tourist.” You might need to describe your status in other ways, such as “TPS” or “asylum.”

For box 13h, you should be able to find the date your status expires by checking your visa. Certain people, such as F-1 students, are admitted to the U.S. with no fixed expiration date for their status. You can handwrite “D/S” (for “duration of status”) if this is the case.

Part 4: Information That Helps USCIS Process Your Case

Some people can “adjust status”—that is, they can get a green card without ever having to leave the United States. (See “Who Can Apply for a Green Card Through Adjustment of Status.”) Other people have to (or want to) get their “immigrant visa” through a U.S. consulate in their home country. USCIS wants to know, in Question 1 of Part 4, which consulate you’d like to use to apply for your immigrant visa (assuming you can’t or don’t want to adjust status without leaving the United States). You probably want to choose the closest one to where you live. If you don’t know which consulate is closest, you can start your Web search at www.usembassy.gov. It is sometimes possible to get your immigrant visa in a “third country” (neither the U.S. nor your home country), such as Mexico or Canada. Call the consulate or consult an immigration lawyer to see whether this is possible.

Answer Question 2 of Part 4 only if you’re living in the U.S. and gave a U.S. address in Part 3. In almost every case, you will have a foreign address that you are maintaining, and USCIS wants to know that address. You can leave box 2a empty if the language you speak in your home country uses the same alphabet (type of writing) as English. If it’s different though, you need to write your name and address in boxes 2a and 2b using your native alphabet.

Question 2d asks if you are filing any other petitions or applications along with the I-360. They mean filing with USCIS. “Other petitions or applications” are only those that you personally are filing (don’t count petitions or applications filed by your relatives on or about the same day), and only those you’re filing at the same time you’re filing the I-360 or close to the same time—don’t count a petition or application you filed a year ago.

In 2e and 2f, you are the “the person this petition is for” and “the person for whom this petition is being filed.”

If you’re filing your adjustment of status application “concurrently” with (at the same time as) the I-360, check the yes box in 2g and attach a separate sheet of paper that explains why you are eligible to adjust status. You may need to consult with an immigration lawyer if you’re not sure if you’re eligible to adjust, or not sure how to explain why you’re eligible

Parts 5, 6, and 8: They Don’t Apply to You!

Leave Parts 5, 6, and 8 empty.

Part 7: Information About Your Deceased Spouse, and Even More Information About You

For Question 5 in Section A, check either box a, b, or d.

For purposes of the questions in Section B, your deceased spouse is “the person in Section A” or “the person named in Section A.”

Question 5 in Section B asks if you were legally separated at the time your spouse died. Don’t answer yes if you’re not sure, because USCIS will deny your I-360 if you were legally separated. Ask a lawyer who specializes in divorce law or family law if you don’t know what “legally separated” means.

You do not have to answer Question 7 of Section B.

Part 9: Information About Your Children

You don’t have to give information about your deceased spouse in Part 9. If you have a new spouse, don’t list the new spouse here — and don’t bother filing Form I-360, because you’re no longer eligible for a green card based on your marriage to the deceased spouse.

You should give information about all your children who are living. Also, if your deceased spouse had children who are not yours, list those living children in Part 9.

Part 10: Your Signature

If you’re filing the I-360 in the U.S., go ahead and sign in Part 10. You’ll notice there’s a box for “Signature of USCIS or Consular Official,” and to the right of that there’s a box that says “Print Name” and “Date.” Leave those spaces empty.

If you’re filing the I-360 at a U.S. consulate or USCIS office outside the U.S., leave Part 10 empty — you’ll sign when you go to file the I-360.

Part 11: Did Anyone Help You Prepare the Form?

If you filled out the Form I-360 yourself (even if someone helped you with the answers), you can leave Part 11 empty. If someone else filled out the form, that person must fill out Part 11 and sign.

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