The Family Sponsor Immigration Act of 2002
Understanding the Humanitarian Reinstatement Form of Relief
Once a petitioner files for his/her relative(s) abroad, the waiting time with respect to one’s preference category can be relatively lengthy. Upon receipt and approval of the I-130 petition, intending immigrants must wait for their priority dates to become current in order to receive their visa interview dates, which in some cases can take up to 10 years. Unfortunately, in many cases the petitioner passes away prior to the petition’s priority date becoming current. Under USCIS regulation, when the petitioner of an approved I-130 dies, the petition undergoes automatic revocation. This comes as a surprise to many beneficiaries; after years of patiently waiting, they are confronted with the harsh reality of this provision: not only has their relative passed away, but their petition has died along the way as well.
Can the priority date of an approved I-130 petition be restored or reinstated?
Fortunately, the Family Sponsor Immigration Act enacted in 2002 addresses this inequity and authorizes USCIS to reinstate canceled cases if humanitarian circumstances are present. This modification carves a pathway for families to resurrect the original petitions filed by their deceased petitioner, provided there is cause and a substitute sponsor willing to fulfill the affidavit of support obligations.
While there is no special form that needs to be completed to make this request, the submission must include the following:
1. Death certificate of the petitioner;
2. Form I-797 (Notice of Approval of original I-130 petition by the original petitioner);
3. Declaration from the beneficiary expressing wish to immigrate and detailing reasons why;
4. Proof of the bona fides of the beneficiary’s relationship to the deceased petitioner;
5. Proof of the beneficiary’s relationship to any other family members in the U.S., and their status;
6. Proof of humanitarian reasons.
Additionally, a substitute sponsor must also execute and provide Form I-864, the Affidavit of Support. Only certain family members may serve. Proof of the substitute sponsor’s relationship to the beneficiary must also be furnished.
How can we help?
Our firm has successfully handled many of these types of petitions with the USCIS. We can assist you in spotting the unique, compelling circumstances of your particular case and present them in a manner that is memorable and persuasive. It is one thing to know that such relief is available. It is entirely another, to get it. We know how, and we would love to help you, because reuniting families is our passion.