Who Can File an I-360 Green Card Petition?

The I-360 application is available to select groups of immigrants as a means of gaining permanent resident status in the U.S. Here is an overview of the various eligible groups.

By , J.D. · University of Washington School of Law

Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, is issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is a type of form called a "petition," meaning that it starts off the process of applying for a green card. Use of Form I-360 is limited to specific categories of immigrants, as described below.

Immigration Petitions by Amerasians

The I-360 petition can be used by people who were born between December 31, 1950 and October 22, 1982 in Laos, Vietnam, Korea, Kampuchea, or Thailand, to a U.S. citizen father. (This category is rarely used now.) An Amerasian must provide evidence that the alien was fathered by a U.S. citizen and was born in one of the designated countries during the eligible time frame. The immigrant will also need to have a U.S. citizen or permanent resident sponsor.

Immigration Petitions by Widows and Widowers of U.S. Citizens

Widows and widowers of U.S. citizens may use Form I-360 to petition for a green card, on condition that they were not legally separated or divorced from the citizen at the time of his or her death, have not remarried, and that they file the petition within two years of the citizen's death.

Note that if the U.S. citizen already filed a Form I-130 petition for the immigrant, filing an I-360 is not necessary. The I-130 automatically converts to an I-360.

Immigration Petitions by Battered Spouses/Children/Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents

Immigrants who have been a victim of violence or extreme cruelty at the hands of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent, as well as parents of an abusive U.S. citizen, may petition for a green card using Form I-360.

The applicant will also need to provide a great deal of documentary proof, in particular evidence of the U.S. citizen or permanent resident's status, marriage or birth certificates proving the marriage or parental relationship, evidence that the marriage was bona fide (the real thing, not a sham to get a green card), proof of the abuse, proof of the applicant's good moral character, and proof of the hardship the applicant would face if denied the green card.

(For more on the self-petitioning for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act, see Process to Get a Green Card Under VAWA. Also see 8 U.S.C. § 1154(a).)

Safety and Privacy Considerations for Victims

Be sure to consider the privacy of your computer, smartphone, or tablet when seeking help online or over the phone. Some victims might use the same device, network, or phone plan as the abuser, allowing the abuser to see the victim's search or call history or otherwise track their activity. Many smart devices contain cameras or GPS tracking that can be used to locate and monitor your whereabouts. An abuser can even slip a small tracking device in your car, bag, pocket, or other belongings without your knowledge. If you're concerned about your privacy or safety, several organizations provide assistance and resources, including National Domestic Violence Hotline and RAINN. You can also check out our Resources for Victims of Crime.

Immigration Petitions by Special Immigrants

So-called "Special Immigrants," eligible under category EB-4 of employment-based green cards, also use Form I-360 to petition for a green card. (See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27).)

Despite being placed under the "employment" category, not all of these green cards have a connection to U.S. employment. For example, religious workers and special immigrant juveniles are covered by this category.

Also see How to File an I-360 "Special Immigrant" or VAWA Green Card Petition.

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