If you have family members living outside the United States and you want to be reunited with them here in the U.S., you can file a petition for them that will ultimately allow them to join you in the U.S. To do this, you must already be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (green card holder). You begin by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
Background On Family Immigration
If you have family members living outside the United States and you want to be reunited with them here in the U.S., you can file a petition for them that will ultimately allow them to join you in the U.S.
To do this, you must already be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (green card holder). You begin by filing a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
- U.S. citizens may petition their parents, spouses, siblings, and married and unmarried children.
- Permanent residents may petition their spouses and unmarried children.
How Long Is The Approval Process?
Getting your petition approved can take months, or even years.
Because of the long wait, it is not uncommon that some petitioners and beneficiaries die before the request is approved.
What Happens If The Petitioner Dies Before The Beneficiary Is Granted Permanent Resident Status?
Since it may take a long time for the petition to be approved and for the beneficiary to ultimately be granted permanent resident status, it is always a possibility that the petitioner will die before the process is complete. When this happens, it may become significantly more challenging for the beneficiary of the petition (and perhaps their family members) to obtain their green cards.
The petition is revoked automatically upon the petitioner’s death. It does not matter if the beneficiary is already on U.S. soil.
It is tragic since most bereaved family members who are beneficiaries will not be able to support their loved ones. Also, the number of years they have spent waiting for approval will just go down the drain.
Can The Revocation Be Reversed?
Even if the petition gets revoked, another petitioner can reapply for the petitioner’s beneficiaries who died. However, know that they will reset the priority date or the wait time. This means that the beneficiaries need to wait again, even if the petitioner is a direct relative of the petitioner who died and the beneficiaries.
However, when the petition is automatically revoked because of the petitioner’s death, you can still request Humanitarian Reinstatement of the petition. This request must be made to the USCIS. And if the request is granted, the USCIS will reinstate the petition on humanitarian grounds.
What are the pieces of information needed for Humanitarian Reinstatement to be granted?
Here is what you need to apply for this:
- Your deceased petitioner’s name and yours
- A-number or Alien Registration Number
- Death certificate of the petitioner
What Are The Requirements For Humanitarian Reinstatement?
The USCIS handles all humanitarian reinstatement requests. They have a list of basic requirements, including the following:
1. The petition must already be approved.
2. The substitute sponsor must be at least 18 years old.
3. The substitute sponsor must be a lawful permanent resident (green card holder) or a U.S. citizen.
4. The substitute sponsor must complete a new affidavit of support.
5. The substitute sponsor must provide proof and evidence that they possess the required familial relationship to the principal beneficiary.
6. The substitute sponsor should have sufficient yearly income to support the principal beneficiary.
Are There Any Guarantees With Humanitarian Reinstatement?
There is no guarantee of getting your humanitarian reinstatement approved. Know that there is no form to fill, and you are just basically going to appeal through the department through letters, documentation, and evidence.
However, you do have a way to improve your chances. You can hire an attorney to help get your case across and put your situation and request in a more favorable light.
What Are My Chances Of Getting My Request For Humanitarian Reinstatement Accepted?
Humanitarian reinstatement greatly differs from most USCIS processes. There are no set rules or other requirements established for Humanitarian Reinstatement requests aside from being an option if the petitioner dies before the beneficiary is granted permanent resident status.
Because of that, the approval of your request depends on the discretion of the USCIS. They can reject your request, and they are not required to tell you the reason. It does not matter if you have complete supporting documentation and evidence. They can just reject your request and force you to restart the immigration petition of the beneficiaries.
However, the USCIS did make this clear: the decision will be based on the weight of positive factors over the negative ones. Here is a list of factors the USCIS should consider when evaluating requests for Humanitarian Reinstatement:
1. Disruption of an established family unit
2. Hardship to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents
3. Beneficiary is elderly or in poor health
4. Beneficiary has had lengthy residence in the United States
5. Beneficiary has no home to go to
6. Undue delay by INS or consular officer in processing petition and visa
7. Beneficiary has strong family ties in the United States
How Can I Increase My Chances Of Getting Accepted?
You need an attorney for your case. Their goal is to ensure that you get your application resumed without making you wait for a few more years.
Also, by the time you need humanitarian reinstatement, you are likely grieving, and there is no way for you to have full control over your application. With an attorney, you can rest easy that they will handle the pieces of evidence and documentation you need for the reinstatement request. They will also provide you with immediate legal guidance during the case.
For more information, please reach out to us here. We would be happy to help!