Death of a Petitioner or Principal Applicant

October 31, 2016

It is unfortunate when a relative dies and we are always saddened to learn of the death of one of our petitioners or applicants.  However, the death of a petitioner or applicant can have serious consequences on the outcome of a visa petition.  If the petitioner dies before the principal applicant has immigrated to the United States, the petition is automatically revoked.  This means the consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to any of the beneficiaries of the petition and will be required to return the petition to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

If there are compelling humanitarian circumstances, the applicant may contact directly the DHS office that approved the petition to request that it be reinstated for humanitarian reasons.  Under certain circumstances, a consular officer may also recommend that DHS reinstate the petition. If DHS reinstates the petition, the consular officer will contact the applicant(s) soon thereafter.

Please note that if the petitioner dies, providing documents from an alternate sponsor on the day of the interview will not reinstate the petition.  In order to proceed with the case, we must receive notice from DHS stating the petition has been reinstated.

If the principal applicant has already immigrated to the US and is a legal permanent resident (LPR) when the petitioner dies, the derivative applicants (usually the children of the principal applicant) are generally still eligible to apply for an immigrant visa.  In this case, all the documents usually provided by the petitioner for the immigrant visa interview (the Affidavit of Support, Federal US Tax Statements, etc.) must be provided by the principal applicant instead.   Please note, however, that if it is the principal applicant who has died, the consular officer will not be able to issue visas to the derivative applicants even if the petitioner is still alive.  Humanitarian Reinstatement is not permitted for derivative applicants if the principal applicant has died.

Please contact our Information Service Center by dialing 829 956 5144 from the Dominican Republic or 703 988 3410 from the United States with any questions.