Congress Passes Law Allowing Widows to Move From Visa to Permanent Resident Status

The U.S. Congress has granted final approval to new legislation that would allow widows and widowers of full US citizens to move from American visa to permanent resident.

A legal provision known as "widow's penalty", was most recently highlighted by the story of a Japanese widow and the baby of a marine killed in Iraq.

Sargent Michael H. Ferschke were married by phone during his deployment to Iraq. One month later, Ferschke died. The couple had a child together, but she and the baby faced being sent back to Japan because U.S. law did not recognize their standing, and would not permit them to move from the status of American visa to residency.

On Tuesday, Congress approved legislation that would effectively abolish the provision. The measure is also a part of a larger Homeland Security bill which Presiden Barack Obama is expected to soon sign.

Under the new law, widows and widowers would be allowed to submit petitions seeking permanent American residency.