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What Happens To My Petition If My Sponsor Passes Away?

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 can take up to 10 years in some cases.

Unfortunately, in many cases the petitioner passes away prior to the petition’s priority date becoming current. Under United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (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 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. Called “humanitarian reinstatement,” 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.

Supporting Documents For Petition Reinstatement

While there is no special form that needs to be completed to make this request, submissions must include the following:

  1. A 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 his/her wishes to immigrate with a detailed explanation
  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 Lee & Garasia, LLC, Can Help You

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 to support you, and we would love to help you, because reuniting families is our passion.

Contact our law firm for further information by calling 732-516-1717 or 888-404-5876.