|Law Offices of Janet J. Greathouse
Immigration and Nationality Law
|Expansion of Definition of "Immediate Relative" Is Finalized
The State Department has finalized regulations expanding the definition of "immediate relative" to include widows and children of victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Interim regulations were first issued on January 11, 2002. Because no comments were submitted, the regulations were finalized without change.
The USA Patriot Act provided that spouses and children of U.S. citizens who "died as a direct result of a specified terrorist activity" will remain an immediate relative for purposes of immigration law. The final regulations now state that a spouse of a deceased U.S. citizen and each child of the spouse "will be entitled to immediate relative status after the date of the citizen's death" if he or she meets the requirements of the USA Patriot Act.
Moreover, the child of a U.S. citizen who has died in the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 will retain status of immediate relative child without regard to change in age or marital status as long as the child files a petition for status within two years of the citizen's death. For the text of the regulations, please click here.
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