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The green card application process for widows of US citizens

South Carolina residents who wish to apply for a green card may be interested in the residency process for widows and widowers of U.S. citizens. If the requirements are met, the application is relatively straightforward.

When a non-citizen has a spouse that has U.S. citizenship, they have the ability to receive permanent residency in the U.S. through this relationship. However, when the citizen spouse passes away before the process has started or prior to its completion, there may still be options. In order for a non-citizen widow to apply for residency, they must meet two major requirements. First, the marriage must have been legal. Second, the marriage must have been in good faith. This means that the couple could not have been married simply for immigration purposes. While it was once a requirement that the couple were wed for at least two years prior to the citizen's death, this is no longer a requirement.

The application for the green card must be filed within two years of the U.S. citizen's death. Various pieces of evidence should accompany the application, including copies of birth certificates and passports, as well as passport photos and a specific information sheet. If there was already an existing application filed while the spouse was still alive, that application will be automatically converted, so no further action is necessary. In any case, the couple cannot have been either separated or divorced in the time prior to the citizen's death.

An attorney may be able to help a widow with these family immigration and residency issues. The attorney might be useful in filing the proper forms within the required timeframes. The attorney may also be able to assist in any disputes or issues that may come up with the USCIS during the process.

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