But I don’t plan on dying!

IMMIGRATION CORNER - Michael J. Gurfinkel - The Philippine Star

Over the years, I have had dozens of consultations from tearful clients, with the same facts and situation: a parent files a petition for their son or daughter, where the waiting time for a visa could be anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Although both parents were in a position to file their own petition for the child, only one parent does.

As the years go by, the petitioning parent unfortunately dies, whether through a heart attack, old age, illness or the like. As a result of the petitioner’s death, the petition dies with the petitioner. If the family member is outside the US and will be processing their visa at the US embassy, they will be required to file for humanitarian revalidation/reinstatement and hope it is approved.

When people consult with me on situations like this, in many cases, the OTHER PARENT could have also filed a petition at the same time. But they did not. Had they done so, their petition could have acted as a backup or an insurance policy in case their spouse dies during the years of waiting for the priority date to become current on the petition.

In fact, when people consult with me about petitioning a son or daughter, I suggest that BOTH parents file petitions instead of only one. Sometimes they respond that only one petition is necessary, as they do not plan on dying, and it’s cheaper. But that’s taking chances. It’s almost like saying, “I don’t need car insurance because I don’t plan on getting into an accident.” You never know.

Yes, it does cost a few hundred dollars extra to file another petition. But it is far less expensive than the cost of filing for humanitarian revalidation, which may not always be approved. If the other parent files a petition AFTER their spouse dies, they do not get to take over the original priority date. They get a new priority date and basically have their child go to the back of the line.

If you are thinking about petitioning your son or daughter, I would strongly recommend that you first consult with an attorney. If the petitioner has died (whether it is a petition by a parent, brother, sister, etc.) and humanitarian revalidation is needed, you should also consult with an attorney for advice and assistance.

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