If your spouse died while serving their country as a non-citizen, you can apply for their citizenship posthumously on their behalf. This will not only fulfill your spouse's dream of becoming a United States citizen, but it will also be the first step in getting survivor benefits for you and your children. Here's what you'll need to do.
Contact the post's family advocate
You'll need paperwork from your post's family advocate. They will help you gather the important documentation you will need to file for your spouse's citizenship. This documentation includes a DD-214, which will show proof that your loved one served their country honorably and lost their life while serving. The family advocate will get this documentation from your spouse's commanding officer. The advocate will also help you get a certified copy of the military death certificate from the Casualty Assistance Officer on post.
Hire an immigration attorney
While it's not a requirement to hire an immigration attorney, it's a good idea to do so. That way, you can be sure that all of the necessary paperwork to obtain citizenship for your spouse is correctly filled out and submitted. Take all the documentation you gathered from the family advocate to the immigration attorney for him or her to look over. If the attorney finds any missing information or discrepancies, you may need to sign a release form permitting the attorney to contact the family advocate on your behalf.
After your spouse is awarded with citizenship, you can return to the immigration attorney to apply for green cards for you and your children. Your spouse's status as a United States citizen will date back to the date of death, which means your spouse will be considered as being a citizen at the time of their death. This means your spouse can be your green card sponsor, even though they gave their life for the country they loved.
Go to the nearest VA facility
Being green card holders sponsored by a citizen means you and your children would then be eligible for survivor benefits from the Veteran's Administration, as long as you never remarried and your income doesn't exceed the program requirements. Some benefits you may be entitled to include medical, dental, pension, and dependency compensation. The VA facility will assign a liaison to you to help you navigate the various benefits available to you through the survivor benefit program, which are typically tailored to the needs of the families in the program.
For more information and help with this kind of case, contact a family immigration attorney, such as Neal Richardson Datta Attorney At Law, P.C..