We recently received an approval of a 204l request on behalf of a widow whose husband was the primary beneficiary of an employment-based petition. Now that the petition has been formally reinstated by USCIS, our client will now be potentially eligible to file for adjustment of status as a derivative notwithstanding the fact that her deceased husband was the primary beneficiary of the employment-based petition. Under ordinary circumstances, this would not be possible since dependents cannot immigrate without the primary beneficiary, and petitions are automatically canceled/revoked if the primary beneficiary passes away. However, tucked away within the Immigration and Nationality Act is a special humanitarian provision, 204l, which addresses situations such as these and provides for restoration of what would normally be canceled files.
USCIS just released a new policy memorandum that may be of interest and help to surviving relatives of US Citizens. PM 602-0126 is entitled "Approval of a Spousal Immediate Relative Visa Petition under Section 204(l) of the Immigration and Nationality Act after the death of a U.S. Citizen Petitioner." The memo is highly technical and intended for USCIS employees, but the main thrust of it is to nationally implement the holding of Williams v. DHS Secretary, 741 F. 3d 1228 (11th Cir. 2014), a court case out of the 11th circuit, and clarify the boundaries of 204(l).