Navigating the Path to U.S. Immigration: Form I-360 Explained

Form I-360, also known as the “Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant,” is a document used by certain immigras to seek special immigrant status in the United States. It is primarily used by individuals who fall into specific categories of immigrants, including:

  • Amerasian immigrants: This category includes individuals born in certain countries in Asia to U.S. military personnel or U.S. government employees. Amerasian immigrants may be eligible for special immigrant status under the Amerasian Homecoming Act.
  • Widow(er) of a U.S. citizen: Widows or widowers of U.S. citizens who were married to the U.S. citizen at the time of their spouse’s death may be eligible for special immigrant status if they meet certain criteria.
  • Special immigrant: This category encompasses a range of individuals, such as religious workers, employees of international organizations, Afghan and Iraqi nationals who worked for the U.S. government, and other specific groups defined by U.S. immigration law.

The purpose of Form I-360 is to establish the eligibility of the petitioner (the person applying for special immigrant status) and to request the appropriate immigration benefits. If approved, the petitioner may be eligible for lawful permanent residence (a green card) in the United States.

How to prepare Form I-360?

Preparing Form I-360, the “Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant,” can be a complex process, as the requirements and supporting documents may vary depending on the specific immigrant category you are applying under. Here are some general steps to help you prepare Form I-360:

  • Determine Your Eligibility: Before starting the application, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the specific immigrant category you are applying under (e.g., Amerasian immigrant, widow(er) of a U.S. citizen, special immigrant for religious work, etc.). Review the eligibility requirements provided by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on their website.
  • Obtain the Latest Form: Download the most recent version of Form I-360 from the USCIS website. USCIS frequently updates their forms, so using the latest version is crucial.
  • Read the Instructions: Carefully review the instructions provided with Form I-360. These instructions will provide guidance on how to complete the form, including which sections to fill out and which supporting documents to include.
  • Gather Supporting Documents: Collect all the required supporting documents that demonstrate your eligibility for the special immigrant category. These documents may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, evidence of employment, affidavits, and any other documents specified in the instructions.
  • Complete the Form: Fill out Form I-360 accurately and completely. Follow the instructions for each section, and be sure to use black ink and write legibly. If a particular section does not apply to your situation, mark it as “N/A” (not applicable).
  • Fees and Payment: Check the USCIS website for the current filing fee for Form I-360. Include the appropriate payment method, such as a check or money order, made payable to the “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” USCIS may offer fee waivers in certain circumstances, so review the fee waiver instructions if applicable.
  • Sign and Date the Form: Sign and date the completed Form I-360 in the designated areas. If someone prepared the form on your behalf, there is a section for the preparer to sign as well.
  • Mail the Application: Double-check that you have included all required documents and the correct filing fee (if applicable). Mail your completed Form I-360 and supporting documents to the address provided in the instructions. It’s essential to use a trackable mailing method to ensure your application reaches USCIS.
  • Wait for USCIS Response: After USCIS receives your application, they will process it and may request additional information or schedule an interview. Be prepared to respond promptly to any USCIS requests.
  • Follow Up: USCIS processing times can vary, so it’s a good idea to periodically check the status of your case on the USCIS website using the receipt number provided on your receipt notice.

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