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Humanitarian Reinstatement

Humanitarian reinstatement is a discretionary form of relief available to the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, that was approved prior to the death of the petitioner.

Basic Eligibility for Humanitarian Reinstatement

Humanitarian reinstatement may only be requested by the principal beneficiary when the petitioner of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, has died. Humanitarian reinstatement cannot be granted if the petitioner died while the petition was pending, but see Basic Eligibility for Section 204(I) Relief for Surviving Relatives to see if you may qualify for another form of relief.

Most immediate relatives and family-based immigrants are required to have Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the Act. In some cases, your work history or other factors may make Form I-864 unnecessary (See 8 CFR 213a.2(a)(2)(ii)). In either case, your petitioner’s death does not change the way that the Form I-864 requirement applies to you. If you were required to have Form I-864 and the petitioner died, you must have either a new Form I-864 from a substitute sponsor or Form I-864W, Intending Immigrant’s Affidavit of Support Exemption. The substitute sponsor must be:

  • A U.S. citizen, national, or lawful permanent resident;
  • At least 18 years old; and
  • Your 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.  

Humanitarian reinstatement is a discretionary benefit. Exercising discretion means weighing positive factors against negative factors to make a decision. In addition to meeting the basic requirements for humanitarian reinstatement, your request must warrant a favorable exercise of discretion, meaning that the “pros” in granting your request outweigh the “cons.” 

How to Request Humanitarian Reinstatement

There is no form or fee to ask for humanitarian reinstatement. You need to make a written request with supporting evidence to the USCIS office that originally approved the petition. 

When you request humanitarian reinstatement, be sure to include:

  • Your name and your deceased petitioner’s  name;
  • The receipt number of the petition (you can find this on the receipt notice);
  • Your alien registration number (A number), if you have one;
  • Your relative’s A number, if he or she had one;
  • Your relative’s death certificate (a certified translation is required, if not in English);
  • Form I-864 from substitute sponsor or Form I-864W; and
  • Evidence that a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted, which may include, but is 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;
    • 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.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/07/2013