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Understanding Humanitarian Reinstatement

The United States immigration system can be complex, filled with forms, processes, and waiting periods. Sometimes, even after navigating these hurdles, families are struck by a heartbreaking complication: the death of the petitioning relative. In such circumstances, an approved petition for permanent residency (green card) can be revoked, leaving the beneficiary in a difficult situation.

However, there is a possibility for hope: Humanitarian Reinstatement. This discretionary process allows certain beneficiaries to request that USCIS reinstate a previously approved petition after the petitioner's death. 

Who Can Apply for Humanitarian Reinstatement?

Humanitarian Reinstatement is not for everyone. Here are the two main requirements to be eligible:

  • Approved Form I-130: You must be the principal beneficiary of a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, that USCIS had already approved before your petitioning relative passed away. If the petition was still pending at the time of death, humanitarian reinstatement is not an option.

  • Substitute Sponsor: In place of the deceased petitioner, you must have a willing and financially qualified U.S. citizen or green card holder to come forward as your substitute sponsor.

What is a Substitute Sponsor?

A substitute sponsor assumes the financial responsibility for the beneficiary once they are granted permanent residency. This means they agree to support the beneficiary financially and ensure they won't become a public charge on the U.S. government.

The substitute sponsor must be:

  1. A U.S. Citizen, National, or Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card holder);

  2. At least 18 years old; and

  3. The principal beneficiary's 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 to Apply for Humanitarian Reinstatement

There is no specific form for requesting Humanitarian Reinstatement.  Instead, you will need to submit a written request to the USCIS service center that approved the original Form I-130.  

Discretionary Decision by USCIS

It's important to understand that Humanitarian Reinstatement is a discretionary benefit. This means that USCIS is not obligated to grant your request. Instead, they will weigh the positive and negative factors of your case before making a decision.

The positive factors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Impact on family living in the United States (especially U.S. 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; and

  • Any and all other factors you believe weigh in favor of reinstatement, with supporting documentation.

Seeking Legal Help

Humanitarian Reinstatement is a complex process, and having an experienced immigration attorney on your side can significantly improve your chances of success. Tran Flores Law can help you gather the necessary documentation, identify a qualified substitute sponsor, and craft a compelling case that highlights the positive factors of your situation. Contact us now at (512) 894-9984 to schedule a consultation.


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