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 we approved before the petitioner’s death.

Basic Eligibility for Humanitarian Reinstatement

You may only request humanitarian reinstatement if you are the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and your petitioner relative has died. We cannot grant humanitarian reinstatement if the petitioner died while the petition was pending. However, you may see our Basic Eligibility for Section 204(l) Relief for Surviving Relatives webpage to see if you qualify for another form of relief.

Derivative beneficiaries are not eligible to request humanitarian reinstatement; however, if we approve the principal beneficiary’s request, any eligible derivative beneficiary may also benefit from relief.

Most immediate relatives and family-based preference immigrants are required to have Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA. 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 how the Form I-864 requirement applies to you. If you were required to have Form I-864 and the petitioner died, you must have a new Form I-864 from a substitute sponsor. 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 we compare 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 they had one;
  • Your relative’s death certificate (a certified translation is required if it is not in English);
  • A Form I-864 from your substitute sponsor; and
  • Evidence that a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted (this means the positive factors in your case outweigh the negative factors). This 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 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.
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