United States citizens may have family members who reside in other countries who wish to come and live here in the Los Angeles area. This can be accomplished with a family-based immigration petition. However, these petitions can take a long time due to the fact that there are more applications than there are available visas.

Sometimes during this waiting period, the U.S. citizen who petitions for his or her family to get a visa may pass away. In the not-so-distant past, when this occurred, the application was automatically denied and the beneficiary would have to start the process over with another family member acting as the petitioner.

With the passing of Section 204 (I) this all changed. It is now possible for the beneficiary who lives in another country to keep his or her same place for a green card. This can be done when the beneficiary meets the eligibility requirements for relief. The beneficiary must show a denial of the petition will cause him or her undue hardship. This may include hardship and disruption of the family or showing that the beneficiary does not have a home to return to. When this is done, a humanitarian reinstatement can be granted. It can also be granted if the petitioner can show that his or her petition was unduly delayed.

Because of the complexities of this process, the beneficiary would do well to speak with a U.S. immigration attorney. A lawyer can help him or her successfully navigate through the often confusing process.

Source: GMA News, “Getting a US green card after petitioner’s death,” Robert L. Reeves, July 5, 2013