Family Based Survivor Benefits

If you are an immediate relative of a U.S. armed forces member who died from combat-related injuries while on active duty, you may be eligible for certain “survivor” immigration benefits, including citizenship.

Naturalization for Surviving Relatives of U.S. Citizen Service Members

If you are the spouse, child, or parent of a deceased U.S. citizen service member who died during a period of honorable service in an active-duty status, including a service member granted posthumous citizenship, you may be eligible for naturalization under Section 319(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

You must be a lawful permanent resident and meet the other general naturalization requirements, except for the residence or physical presence requirements in the U.S. (It is important to check Box E in Part 2 of Form N-400 and write “Section 319(d) of the INA” in the space provided.)

If you were the spouse of the deceased service member, you must have been living with your spouse at the time of his or her death unless you lived apart because of circumstances beyond your control, such as your spouse’s military service. However, you remain eligible for naturalization under this provision even if you have remarried since the service member’s death.

Adjustment of Status for Surviving Relatives of Service Members

Surviving Relatives of U.S. Citizen Service Members

If you are the spouse, child, or parent of a U.S. citizen who died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat while serving honorably in an active duty status in the U.S. armed forces, you may be eligible for adjustment of status as an “immediate relative” if you file a petition on Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, within 2 years after the service member’s death.

If you are the spouse of a deceased service member, you will be considered an immediate relative for immigration purposes if:

  • Your service member spouse served honorably in an active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces;
  • Your spouse died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat;
  • You were not legally separated from your spouse at the time of their death;
  • You file a petition on Form I-360 within 2 years of your spouse’s death; and
  • You do not remarry before obtaining permanent residence based on your relationship to your U.S. citizen spouse.

When filing Form I-360, you must check Box P in Part 2 of the form and write “Public Law 108-136.”

If you are the child or parent of a deceased service member, you will be considered an immediate relative for immigration purposes if:

  • Your service member relative served honorably in an active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces;
  • Your relative died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat; and
  • You file a petition on Form I-360 within 2 years of your relative’s death.

When filing Form I-360, you must check Box P in Part 2 of the form and write “Public Law 108-136.”

Surviving Relatives of LPR Service Members Granted Posthumous Citizenship

If you are the deceased service member’s spouse, child, or parent and you applied for adjustment of status before the service member’s death based on your relationship to the service member, we will adjudicate your application as if the service member’s death did not occur if they:

  • Served honorably in an active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces;
  • Died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat; and
  • Were granted posthumous citizenship.

To request that your application be adjudicated as if the service member’s death did not occur, write a letter to the district office having jurisdiction over your case, or indicate during your interview that you are eligible for adjustment under Section 1703 of Public Law 108-136 and provide proof of eligibility.

If the deceased service member was a lawful permanent resident who filed a visa petition for you as their spouse or child, you will be considered an immediate relative, and you may file a self-petition (Form I-360) as an immediate relative provided the deceased service member:

  • Served honorably in an active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces;
  • Died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat; and
  • Was granted posthumous citizenship.

In addition, if you are the spouse or child of a deceased service member who did not file a visa petition for you, or if you are the parent of a deceased service member, you may file a self-petition (Form I-360) as an immediate relative if you file within 2 years of the service member’s death and if the service member:

  • Served honorably in an active-duty status in the U.S. armed forces;
  • Died as a result of injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by combat; and
  • Was granted posthumous citizenship.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Last Reviewed/Updated: