If you are a beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, but your petitioner has died before you get your green card, you may know that immigration will automatically cancel or revoke your petition. The thought of restarting the entire application process can be frustrating and overwhelming, but there may be something you can do. You can request reinstatement of your petition by filing a Humanitarian Reinstatement (HR) Application.
To be eligible, you must have an approved I-130 and have a qualifying "substitute" sponsor. Your substitute sponsor must:
- Have completed Form I-864, Affidavit of Support;
- Be a U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident;
- Be at least 18 years old; and
- Be your spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild, or legal guardian.
The first thing you must do before filing a Humanitarian Reinstatement Application is inform the National Visa Center (NVC) that your Petitioner has died. You do not have to wait for your petition to become current because it will result in further delay in processing your application. HR cannot be granted if the petitioner died while the petition was pending. Additionally, NVC does not have the power to grant HR, only the USCIS office that originally approved the petition has the power to do that. Once NVC learns of the death of your Petitioner, it will return the petition to the USCIS office which originally approved the petition.
USCIS will then send a notice to the address used by the deceased Petitioner when he filed the petition in your behalf, so it would be a good idea to maintain good relations with anyone else living at that address. Once that notice is received, that is when you file your HR application. You need to make a written request with supporting evidence to the USCIS office that originally approved the petition.
When you request HR, be sure to include:
- Your name and your deceased petitioner’s name;
- The receipt number of the petition;
- Your alien registration number (A number), if you have one;
- Your petitioner’s A number, if he or she had one;
- Your petitioner’s death certificate (certified translation is required, if not in English); and
- Form I-864 or Form I-864W, Affidavit of Support, from your substitute sponsor.
While relief may be available, it is up to you to prove to USCIS that it should not cancel or revoke your petition for humanitarian reasons. Some factors that USCIS looks at in determining eligibility for HR are: whether you have a home to go to, if you have strong ties in the United States, whether your family unity will be disrupted, and whether you are elderly.
If you believe that you are eligible for Humanitarian Reinstatement, please feel free to schedule a consultation with our office.