Though we always think that once a petition has been filed for us by our relatives in the US, there are only very minor roadblocks we can expect along the way. This is the case most especially if the petition has been checked for accurateness and veracity and has been forwarded to the National Visa Center waiting for priority date. Nothing else should worry us and we can just go on living while the priority date becomes current. Or so we think.
Unfortunately, there are many cases wherein the petitioner dies before or even after the petition has been approved. This is due to the fact that US immigration process has a huge backlog in some foreign countries that it takes several years before a visa becomes available for an applicant. The US immigration law regulations put the petition automatically revoked during these cases. A lot of beneficiaries of a US immigration petition find themselves surprised that the petition for them is no longer valid once the petitioner dies.
For some time, many thought this situation was a dead end and that there is no chance they can acquire any immigration benefits. However, there is a way to appeal for the revival of the petition and this is called the “Request for Humanitarian Reinstatement” or also called “Request for Humanitarian Revalidation”. Humanitarian Reinstatement was made available to cover these kinds of situations.
For a Humanitarian Reinstatement to be applicable to a certain case, the petition must have been approved before the death of relative petitioner. The first thing that the beneficiary must arrange is to have a substitute sponsor who may file for an affidavit of support. This should be someone who can establish the means to maintain an annual income amount equal to at least 125 percent of the Federal Poverty line.
The qualified substitute sponsor should be at least 18 years or age and has a domicile in the US. This includes the spouse, parent, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sibling, child (if at least 18 years of age), son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, grandparent, grandchild of a sponsored alien or a legal guardian of a sponsored alien.
In evaluating requests of Humanitarian Reinstatements, here are some of the factors being considered:
1. Disruption of an established family unit
2. Hardship to US citizens or lawful permanent residents
3. If beneficiary is elderly or in poor health
4. If beneficiary has had lengthy residence in the United States
5. If beneficiary has no home to go to
6. Undue delay by DHS or consular officer in processing petition and visa
7. If beneficiary has strong family ties in the United States.
The Attorney General has the discretion to decide if a valid humanitarian reason does not warrant for the revocation of the petition.
For cases such as this, the primary beneficiary of the petition should check with an immigration lawyer if his/her case can be covered by the Humanitarian Reinstatement. The immigration lawyer should be able to evaluate the beneficiary’s case to determine if he/she can indeed file for such request.