In some cases, the petitioner of USCIS Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative passes away before the immigration process is complete. When this occurs, there is discretionary relief available with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through what is referred to as humanitarian reinstatement. Here’s how to find out if you qualify.
What is humanitarian reinstatement?
A humanitarian reinstatement is a discretionary form of relief available to the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, that was approved before the petitioner’s untimely death.
How does the USCIS define “discretionary?”
Exercising discretion means USCIS compares positive factors against negative factors in order to make a decision. In addition to meeting the basic requirements for humanitarian reinstatement, the request must warrant a favorable exercise of discretion, meaning that the “pros” in granting your request outweigh the “cons.”
Am I eligible for humanitarian reinstatement?
Humanitarian reinstatement is only available to the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative when your petitioner relative has died. Humanitarian reinstatement does not apply if the petitioner died while the I-130 petition was pending. Derivative beneficiaries are not eligible to request humanitarian reinstatement. However, any eligible derivative beneficiary may also benefit.
Who qualifies as a substitute sponsor for Form I-864?
If you were required to have Form I-864 Affidavit of Support and the petitioner died, you must have a new Form I-864 from a substitute sponsor. A substitute sponsor must be:
- A US citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
- 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
How do I apply for humanitarian reinstatement?
There is no form or fee to ask for humanitarian reinstatement. You need to make a written request with supporting evidence to the USCIS office that originally approved the petition. When you request humanitarian reinstatement, be sure to include:
- Your name and your deceased petitioner’s name
- The receipt number of the petition (you can find this on the receipt notice)
- Your Alien Registration Number (A-Number), if you have one
- Your relative’s A-Number, if they had one
- Your relative’s death certificate (a certified translation is required if it is not in English)
- A Form I-864 from your substitute sponsor
- Evidence that a “favorable” exercise of discretion is warranted (this means the positive factors in your case outweigh the negative factors)
How do I show that “favorable” discretion is warranted?
Evidential factors can include, but are not limited to:
- Impact on family living in the United States (especially US citizens, lawful permanent residents, or others lawfully present)
- Advanced age or health concerns of the beneficiary or any following-to-join family members of the beneficiary
- Lawful residence in the United States for a lengthy period
- Ties (or lack thereof) to your home country
- Other factors, such as unusually lengthy government processing delays
- Any and all other factors you believe weigh in favor of reinstatement, with supporting documentation
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