Surviving Spouses of U.S. Citizens May Qualify for Deferred Action

USCIS issed guidance on requesting deferred action for surviving spouse of U.S. citizens who died before the second anniversary of their marriage. Surviving spouses qualify for this temporary program if they were married to, but not legally separated from their U.S. citizen spouse at the time of that spouse’s death; did not remary; and are currently residing in the United States.

Surviving spouses qualify for deferred action regardless of whether the U.S. citizen spouse filed a Form I-130 petition for them. Surviving spouses who apply for deferred actio will need to file Form I-360 with supporting documentation. Work authorization and travel authorization will be available.

Deferred action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion not to pursue removal from the United States of a particular foreigner for a specific period. It is a temporary discretionary solution to remedy the situation commonly referred to as the “widow penalty”, which prevents widow(er)s of deceased U.S. citizens, who were married less than two years at the time of the U.S. citizen’s dealth, from becoming permanent residents based on the marriage.