Form I-360 – Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant for the United States

1. What is Form I-360 and who is eligible to file this petition?

Form I-360 is the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant for the United States. This form is used by individuals who fall under specific categories to apply for special immigrant status in the United States. The eligibility criteria for filing Form I-360 vary depending on the category the petitioner belongs to:

1. Amerasians: Individuals born in certain countries in Asia with one parent who is a U.S. citizen.
2. Widow(er)s: Surviving spouses of U.S. citizens who were married for less than two years before the citizen passed away, or have a child with the deceased U.S. citizen.
3. Special immigrants: This category includes religious workers, certain employees of U.S. foreign service posts, Iraqi and Afghan interpreters, international organization employees, physicians, and others with special circumstances outlined by U.S. immigration law.

It is essential for individuals considering filing Form I-360 to carefully review the eligibility requirements for their specific category before proceeding with their application to ensure they meet the necessary criteria for approval.

2. What are the different categories of special immigrants who can file Form I-360?

There are several categories of special immigrants who can file Form I-360 for consideration of immigration benefits in the United States. Some of the main categories include:

1. Amerasian: Individuals born in certain countries in Asia, particularly those fathered by U.S. citizens.

2. Religious Workers: Religious workers who have been working as ministers or in a religious vocation or occupation for a certain period of time in the U.S.

3. Special Immigrant Juveniles: Children in the U.S. who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned and have a valid juvenile court order.

4. Afghan and Iraqi Translators: Translators or interpreters who have worked directly with the U.S. armed forces in Afghanistan or Iraq.

5. Other categories: There are additional categories such as certain employees of international organizations, employees of the U.S. government abroad, physicians, and more who may qualify as special immigrants under specific circumstances.

Each category has specific requirements and eligibility criteria that must be met in order to file Form I-360 and be considered for special immigrant status in the United States. It is important to carefully review the instructions and guidelines for each category before submitting the petition.

3. What is the filing fee for Form I-360 and are there any fee waivers available?

The filing fee for Form I-360, the Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is $435 as of November 23, 2020. However, there are certain categories of petitioners who may be eligible for a fee waiver. These fee waivers are typically available for individuals who can demonstrate that they are unable to afford the filing fee due to financial hardship. Examples of individuals who may qualify for a fee waiver include those receiving means-tested public benefits, those with incomes below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, and those who are experiencing financial hardship. To request a fee waiver, petitioners must submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, along with their Form I-360 petition and supporting documents to demonstrate their eligibility for the fee waiver. It is important to carefully review the eligibility criteria for fee waivers and provide all necessary documentation to support the request.

4. How long does it take for USCIS to process a Form I-360 petition?

The processing time for a Form I-360 petition filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can vary depending on various factors. On average, it may take approximately 6 to 12 months for USCIS to process a Form I-360 petition. However, this timeframe is not definitive as processing times can be influenced by factors such as the volume of petitions received, the complexity of the case, and any requests for additional evidence or documentation. It is essential for petitioners to regularly check the USCIS website for updated processing time estimates and to ensure that all required documents are submitted accurately to minimize delays in the processing of their petitions.

5. What evidence and documentation are required to support a Form I-360 petition?

When submitting a Form I-360 petition, it is essential to include thorough evidence and documentation to support the petitioner’s claim for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant status. The specific evidence required may vary based on the category under which the petition is being filed. However, some common types of evidence and documentation that are typically necessary include:

1. Proof of Eligibility: This may include documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, or other relevant documents that establish the petitioner’s relationship to the qualifying individual.

2. Affidavits: Sworn statements from the petitioner and other relevant parties verifying the petitioner’s eligibility under the designated category can be crucial in supporting the Form I-360 petition.

3. Supporting Documentation: Any additional documents that corroborate the petitioner’s claims, such as letters of support, employment records, medical records, or any other relevant documents, should be included to strengthen the case.

4. Police Clearance Certificates: Depending on the specific circumstances of the petitioner, it may be necessary to provide police clearance certificates or other documents to demonstrate good moral character and eligibility for the requested immigration status.

5. Any other Evidence: It is important to carefully review the specific requirements outlined in the Form I-360 instructions and provide any additional evidence that may be necessary to support the petitioner’s case.

By gathering and submitting comprehensive evidence and documentation that clearly demonstrate the petitioner’s eligibility for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant status, the chances of a successful outcome for the Form I-360 petition can be significantly increased.

6. Can derivative family members be included in a Form I-360 petition?

Yes, derivative family members can be included in a Form I-360 petition under certain categories. Specifically:
1. Amerasian: Certain unmarried sons and daughters of Amerasian immigrants are eligible to be included as derivative beneficiaries in the Form I-360 petition filed by the Amerasian immigrant.
2. Widow(er): The widow(er) of a U.S. citizen who has passed away may include their unmarried children under 21 years old as derivative beneficiaries on the Form I-360 petition.
3. Special Immigrant: Certain categories of special immigrants, such as religious workers and employees of international organizations, may also be able to include their qualifying family members on the Form I-360 petition.

It is important to carefully review the eligibility requirements and specific guidelines for including derivative family members for each category when filing a Form I-360 petition to ensure that all necessary information and documentation is provided for each beneficiary.

7. What is the difference between a self-petition and a petition filed by a sponsoring organization for special immigrants?

1. A self-petition is filed directly by the individual seeking special immigrant status, such as an Amerasian, widow(er), or certain other eligible immigrant, using Form I-360. In contrast, a petition filed by a sponsoring organization for special immigrants is submitted by an eligible organization on behalf of the immigrant.
2. The key difference is the entity initiating the petition process. In a self-petition, the individual takes the initiative to apply for special immigrant status based on their own eligibility criteria, submitting evidence and supporting documents to prove their qualification. On the other hand, in a petition filed by a sponsoring organization, the organization serves as the petitioner on behalf of the immigrant, providing the necessary sponsorship and meeting specific requirements set by the immigration laws.
3. Both types of petitions require meeting certain criteria for special immigrant status, but the process and responsibility for initiating the petition differ. Self-petitions allow individuals to seek immigration benefits independently, while petitions filed by sponsoring organizations involve the organization’s role in facilitating the immigrant’s application process. It is essential to understand the distinctions between these two petition types when seeking special immigrant status in the United States.

8. What is the definition of an Amerasian under the immigration laws for Form I-360 purposes?

An Amerasian, for the purposes of Form I-360 under immigration laws, refers to a person born in Asia, specifically in Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, Thailand, or the Philippines, and their parentage includes one U.S. citizen parent. This definition is crucial as it allows these individuals to potentially qualify for special immigrant status in the United States under the Amerasian Homecoming Act of 1987. Additionally, the Amerasian classification may also extend to individuals born in the above-mentioned countries whose parentage includes a parent who is a member of the U.S. armed forces, a civilian employee of the U.S. government stationed in one of these countries, or an individual recognized as having provided substantial assistance to the U.S. military or government. Understanding the specific definition of Amerasian is vital for determining eligibility and successfully filing a Form I-360 petition for benefits under this category.

9. What is the process for adjustment of status for a special immigrant approved under Form I-360?

Once a special immigrant petition filed on Form I-360 is approved, the next step for the beneficiary is to apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident in the United States. The process for adjustment of status for a special immigrant approved under Form I-360 typically involves the following steps:

1. Eligibility Confirmation: The beneficiary must ensure they meet all the eligibility requirements for adjustment of status, including admissibility criteria and that their priority date is current.

2. Form I-485 Application: The beneficiary must file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, along with all required supporting documents and fees.

3. Biometrics Appointment: Once the Form I-485 application is received, the beneficiary will be scheduled for a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photograph, and signature.

4. Interview: In some cases, the beneficiary may be required to attend an interview at a USCIS field office as part of the adjudication process.

5. Decision: USCIS will review the application and supporting documents to determine eligibility for adjustment of status. If approved, the beneficiary will receive their lawful permanent resident status (green card).

6. Conditional Permanent Residence (if applicable): In certain cases, such as with special immigrant juveniles, the beneficiary may initially receive conditional permanent resident status, which must be later removed through the filing of a Form I-751 petition.

It is important for the beneficiary to closely follow the instructions provided by USCIS and maintain lawful status throughout the adjustment of status process.

10. Can a special immigrant work in the United States while their Form I-360 petition is pending?

Yes, a special immigrant can work in the United States while their Form I-360 petition is pending under certain conditions:

1. Employment Authorization Document (EAD): Special immigrants who have a pending Form I-360 petition may be eligible to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which allows them to legally work in the United States while their petition is processed. The EAD is typically valid for a specified period of time and must be renewed if the Form I-360 petition is still pending.

2. Eligibility Requirements: In order to apply for an EAD, the special immigrant must meet certain eligibility requirements, including demonstrating financial need or a significant public benefit reason.

3. Limitations: It is important to note that not all special immigrants may be eligible for an EAD while their Form I-360 petition is pending. It is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative to determine eligibility and properly navigate the application process.

11. Can a special immigrant travel outside the United States while their Form I-360 petition is pending?

1. A special immigrant may be able to travel outside the United States while their Form I-360 petition is pending, however, there are important factors to consider before doing so.
2. If the special immigrant holds a valid visa allowing reentry to the United States, they may travel internationally without issue.
3. However, it is crucial to consult with an immigration attorney or the designated agency handling the petition to ensure that travel will not adversely affect the processing or approval of the petition.
4. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, traveling outside the U.S. while the Form I-360 is pending could impact the petition or cause delays in processing.
5. Additionally, if the special immigrant leaves the United States while the petition is pending, they may need to attend an immigrant visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad before reentering the United States as a special immigrant.
6. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to seek professional guidance before making any travel plans during the pendency of a Form I-360 petition to ensure that the process is not negatively affected.

12. Can a special immigrant apply for a green card based on their approved Form I-360 petition?

1. Yes, a special immigrant can apply for a green card (permanent residency) based on their approved Form I-360 petition. The Form I-360 petition is the first step in the process for certain special immigrants to become lawful permanent residents in the United States. Once the Form I-360 petition is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the special immigrant can then apply for a green card by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

2. When filing Form I-485 based on an approved Form I-360 petition, the special immigrant must meet all eligibility requirements for adjustment of status, including admissibility criteria and maintaining lawful immigration status in the U.S. during the application process. The green card application process may also involve a medical examination, biometrics appointment, and an interview with USCIS.

3. It is important for special immigrants to carefully follow the instructions provided by USCIS when applying for a green card based on an approved Form I-360 petition. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can also help ensure a smooth process and increase the chances of a successful outcome in obtaining lawful permanent residency in the U.S.

13. What are the grounds for denial of a Form I-360 petition?

There are several grounds for denial of a Form I-360 petition:

1. Lack of eligibility: If the petitioner does not meet the specific eligibility requirements for the category they are applying under, such as failing to demonstrate Amerasian or special immigrant status, the petition may be denied.

2. Incomplete or incorrect documentation: Failure to submit all the required supporting documents or providing inaccurate information can lead to a denial of the petition.

3. Failure to establish qualifying relationship: In cases where the petitioner is claiming a relationship to a qualifying individual, such as in widow(er) cases, failure to provide sufficient evidence of the relationship can result in denial.

4. Ineligibility due to grounds of inadmissibility: If the petitioner is found to be inadmissible to the United States based on factors such as criminal history, immigration violations, or security concerns, the petition may be denied.

5. Fraud or misrepresentation: Knowingly providing false information or fraudulent documentation in the petition can lead to immediate denial and potential legal consequences.

It is crucial to thoroughly review the eligibility requirements and provide accurate and complete documentation to avoid potential grounds for denial in a Form I-360 petition.

14. Can someone appeal a denied Form I-360 petition?

Yes, someone can appeal a denied Form I-360 petition. Here is some important information regarding appealing a denied Form I-360 petition:

1. Grounds for appeal: If your Form I-360 petition has been denied, you have the right to appeal the decision if you believe that the denial was incorrect or unjust. You can appeal based on various grounds such as procedural errors, misinterpretation of law or facts, or failure to consider relevant evidence.

2. Appeal process: To appeal a denied Form I-360 petition, you must file Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, within 33 days of receiving the denial decision. In your appeal, you must provide a detailed explanation of why you believe the denial was incorrect and include any additional supporting documentation or evidence.

3. Review by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO): Once you file the appeal, it will be reviewed by the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The AAO will reconsider the original decision and determine whether the denial should be upheld, overturned, or remanded back to the USCIS for further review.

4. Legal representation: It is highly recommended to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney who has experience with appeals to guide you through the process and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Overall, appealing a denied Form I-360 petition can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it is possible to challenge the decision if you believe it was made in error. It is important to carefully follow the appeal procedures and provide strong arguments and evidence to support your case.

15. Can a special immigrant sponsor family members for green cards once they become a lawful permanent resident?

Yes, special immigrants who become lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are typically able to sponsor certain family members for green cards as well. This sponsorship process usually falls under the family-based immigration category. Here are some key points to consider:

1. Immediate Relatives: Special immigrants who become green card holders can typically sponsor their immediate relatives, such as spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, for green cards. Immediate relatives are not subject to numerical visa limitations, so they usually have faster processing times compared to other family preference categories.

2. Family Preference Categories: Special immigrants may also be able to sponsor family members outside of the immediate relative category, such as unmarried adult children, married children, and siblings, under the family preference categories. However, these family members may face longer wait times due to numerical visa limitations in these categories.

3. Affidavit of Support: As a sponsor, the special immigrant will need to meet certain financial requirements and provide an affidavit of support to demonstrate that they can financially support their sponsored family members in the United States.

4. Legal Requirements: It is important for special immigrants to comply with all legal requirements and ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria for sponsoring family members for green cards.

In conclusion, special immigrants who become lawful permanent residents generally have the ability to sponsor certain family members for green cards, but the specific process and eligibility criteria may vary depending on individual circumstances and the relationship between the sponsor and the family member seeking a green card.

16. Can a special immigrant apply for citizenship through naturalization in the future?

Yes, a special immigrant who obtains lawful permanent resident status (green card) through Form I-360 can apply for U.S. citizenship through naturalization in the future. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Eligibility: To qualify for naturalization, a special immigrant must generally meet the requirements for lawful permanent residents, including continuous residence, physical presence, good moral character, and knowledge of English and U.S. civics.

2. Time Requirement: Typically, a special immigrant must hold a green card for at least five years before becoming eligible to apply for naturalization, although certain exceptions exist, such as for spouses of U.S. citizens.

3. Additional Considerations: It is important for special immigrants seeking to naturalize to maintain their eligibility by adhering to all applicable laws and regulations, including avoiding certain criminal activities that could impact their immigration status or eligibility for citizenship.

In summary, special immigrants who receive lawful permanent resident status through Form I-360 can pursue U.S. citizenship through naturalization, provided they meet the necessary requirements and follow the proper procedures outlined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

17. Can a special immigrant request a waiver of inadmissibility in conjunction with their Form I-360 petition?

Yes, a special immigrant can request a waiver of inadmissibility in conjunction with their Form I-360 petition. There are specific grounds of inadmissibility outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act that may prevent a special immigrant from being eligible for admission into the United States. However, in some cases, individuals may be able to seek waivers for certain grounds of inadmissibility. Common reasons for inadmissibility include health-related issues, criminal convictions, prior immigration violations, and security concerns. It is important for individuals applying for a Form I-360 petition to consult with an immigration attorney to determine their eligibility for a waiver of inadmissibility and to navigate the complex process.

18. Can a special immigrant change jobs or employers while their Form I-360 petition is pending?

1. Special immigrants with a pending Form I-360 petition are generally allowed to change jobs or employers under certain conditions. However, it is crucial to ensure that any job changes or employer switches comply with the specific requirements of the special immigrant category they fall under, as well as with any applicable immigration laws and regulations.

2. If a special immigrant intends to change jobs or employers while their Form I-360 petition is pending, they should notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) about the change promptly. Failure to inform USCIS about such changes could potentially impact the outcome of the petition.

3. It is recommended that special immigrants consult with an immigration attorney or legal representative experienced in handling Form I-360 petitions and special immigrant cases before making any significant job or employer changes during the pendency of their petition. Seeking proper guidance can help ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations, as well as safeguard the individual’s immigration status and prospects for obtaining lawful permanent residence in the United States.

19. Can a special immigrant apply for public benefits once their Form I-360 petition is approved?

1. Once a special immigrant’s Form I-360 petition is approved, they may be eligible to apply for certain public benefits in the United States. However, the eligibility for specific benefits can vary depending on the immigrant’s classification and individual circumstances.

2. Special immigrants who are granted lawful permanent resident status based on their approved Form I-360 petition may generally be eligible to apply for a range of public benefits, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), among others.

3. It is important for special immigrants to understand that some public benefits programs have eligibility requirements related to factors such as income level, household composition, and the immigrant’s immigration status. Additionally, certain public benefit programs may have restrictions for immigrants who have not been lawful permanent residents for a specified period of time.

4. Special immigrants who have questions about their eligibility for public benefits after their Form I-360 petition is approved should seek guidance from qualified immigration attorneys or authorized representatives. These professionals can provide personalized advice and assistance based on the immigrant’s specific circumstances and help navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system and public benefits programs.

20. What are the rights and protections available to special immigrants under the immigration laws of the United States?

Special immigrants in the United States, including Amerasians, widows, and certain individuals with specific visa classifications, are granted various rights and protections under the immigration laws of the country. These include, but are not limited to:

1. Eligibility for certain public benefits and services: Special immigrants may qualify for public benefits such as health care, education, and housing assistance.
2. Pathways to permanent residency (Green Card): Special immigrants approved via Form I-360 may be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residency in the U.S.
3. Protection from deportation: Special immigrants are generally protected from deportation as long as they maintain their eligibility criteria.
4. Work authorization: Special immigrants may be allowed to work legally in the United States while their petition is pending or after obtaining lawful permanent residency.
5. Family reunification: Special immigrants may be able to petition for their immediate family members to join them in the U.S. through family-based immigration processes.

Overall, the U.S. immigration laws aim to provide special immigrants with the necessary rights and protections to facilitate their integration into American society and ensure their well-being while residing in the country.