What Can You Do if the Sponsor in Your Case Dies Before You Receive Your “Green Card”?

What Can You Do if the Sponsor in Your Case Dies Before You Receive Your “Green Card”?

Normally, a pending “green card” petition is automatically cancelled if the petitioner dies during the processing of the case, unless the surviving beneficiary was the spouse of a U.S. citizen or a battered spouse who could self-petition based on other requirements.  But under 204(l), other surviving family members may be eligible to continue the processing of the visa or green card if they are:

  • Principal or derivative beneficiary of a Petition for Alien Relative (Form I-130) regardless of whether the petitioner was a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and the petitioner died;
  • Derivative beneficiary of a family petition and the principal beneficiary died;
  • Derivative beneficiary of a Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) and the principal beneficiary died;
  • Beneficiary of a Form I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition, and the petitioner died;
  • Derivative beneficiary of T or U visa or asylum and the principal visa holder or asylee died.

If you fall into one of the categories above and you are present in the U.S., then you may be eligible to request that the Immigration Service (USCIS) continues processing the case after your sponsor’s death.

The request to the Service will change depending on the progress of the application when the relative died.  Also, you do not have a right to have the application processed, but rather it depends on the Service’s discretion based on the arguments in your case.  To be approved, you must include evidence of positive factors showing why you should be an exception to the normal rule.  You might also need a substitute financial sponsor and a waiver for inadmissibility.  For these reasons, it is best to consult an experienced immigration attorney to figure out how to properly request relief under Section 204(l).

Contact our Attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth today with questions about this article or any other questions involving immigration or other legal matters.  If you mention this article, your consultation with an attorney will be free.  Call today: 1-888-517-9888.

Provisional Waivers Allow Some Immigrants to Obtain Approvals Before Leaving the U.S.

A common way for immigrants to obtain a green card in the United States is through a family member who is a U.S. citizen.  First, the U.S. citizen sponsor will have to file a Form I-130 or “Alien Petition.”  In the past, once that form was approved, the non-citizen would have to depart the U.S., return to their home country, and be interviewed abroad for the right to enter the United States legally.


Many undocumented applicants worry that beginning this process will result in deportation because they entered illegally.  Others fear that if they leave the United States for their consular visa interview, they will not be allowed to return.  This is when the new provisional waiver program that began in 2013 can be useful.


By applying for a waiver from within the U.S., applicants can learn from the Service whether or not the waiver is approved before they leave the country.  This process dramatically decreases their waiting time for an interview in their home country.  Not everyone who is eligible for a green card is eligible for this provisional waiver.  In order to apply for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, you must:

  • Have an immediate relative, such as a spouse, parent, or unmarried child, who is a United States Citizen.
  • Be at least 17 years of age.
  • Be physically present in the United States at the time of applying.
  • Not be otherwise ineligible to live the United States due to certain crimes or serious immigration violations.
  • Be able to show that your U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen parent will suffer extreme hardship if you were unable to live in the U.S.

This program for “Provisional waivers” is newer and the approvals are difficult to obtain.  Also, a USCIS approval is not a guarantee that the consular officer will grant the visa.  For these reasons, it is best to consult with a skilled immigration attorney who can verify whether you qualify based on your immigration or criminal history before you incur the high costs of applying.

To find out if you are eligible, call our law offices today for a free consultation with an immigration attorney.  If you have any other questions, please call: 1-888-517-9888, or fill out our Contact Request Form.

California Prepares for the High Demand for Driver’s Licenses to Undocumented Drivers

January 2014

A groundbreaking law will go into effect in January of 2015, enabling undocumented residents in California to obtain driver’s licenses.  This month, Governor Jerry Brown proposed allocating almost $65 million to hire and train over 800 new DMV employees and new temporary DMV offices across the state to handle the thousands of new applicants expected.  Currently, applicants must show a valid social security number and identification to obtain driver’s licenses, which has prevented people without legal status in the U.S. from driving legally.  The change coming next year will allow the licenses to be issued without the need for a social security number, opening the door to many undocumented drivers.

Under the new law, a special mark may be placed on the licenses issued without a social security number, such as the initials DP (for driver’s privilege) instead of the usual DL (for driver’s license).  Another notation might state that the document does not establish eligibility for employment or public benefits.  These notations sparked controversy that law enforcement and others who ask to see the license as a photo I.D. could instantly be alerted as to the holder’s unlawful immigration status and use that information as a basis to discriminate unfairly.

Despite the controversial aspects of the law, many people agree that this is a positive step-forward both for ensuring public safety for all drivers and for highlighting the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

If you would like more information about this topic or have any immigration-related questions, please call for a free consultation: 1-888-517-9888, or fill out our Contact Request Form.

DACA Applications – Not just for students! Do you qualify?

DACA Applications – Not just for students!  Do you qualify?

January 2014

Strong efforts have been put forth to help students, across high schools in particular, apply for relief through DACA, a deferred status that provides eligible people for a work permit and a status that defers deportation for the time period granted.

However, there are many other young, non-students who may be eligible for this relief and who may not have sought out information because of the focus that has been placed on the DREAMer students who have applied in large numbers.

Reports have found that there are many undocumented people who are still within the age limits to apply for DACA who are working without a legal permit, and have not sought out applying for this deferred status.  Many of them who are no longer in school simply lack the similar avenues of information and help to find out if they qualify.  Qualifying for DACA is still a large benefit because with a work permit, these young workers could qualify for jobs that are higher-paid, obtain a driver’s license, and work outside of the agricultural and labor-intensive industries that cater to undocumented workers.

To find out if you are eligible, call our law offices today for a free consultation.  If you have any other immigration-related questions, please call: 1-888-517-9888, or fill out our Contact Request Form.

U Visa for Victims of Crime

The “U” Visa for Victims of Crime

Do you or a family member qualify for a U visa?

The U Visa offers a form of relief for victims of crimes committed within the United States, who report the crime to the police officers and are helpful in the investigation of the criminal case against the perpetrator(s) of the crime.  Only certain crimes related to those defined by the Immigration Service qualify a person for this visa, including domestic violence, sexual assault, kidnapping, and several others. The victimization may include physical or mental abuse.

To qualify for this status, the person must obtain a certification by a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency to certify that:

The person is a victim of criminal activity defined by the Service;

The person has information about the crime; and

The person has been or is likely to be helpful to continue the investigation or prosecution of the offense committed.

After obtaining a certification, a package must be completed and submitted to the Immigration Service.  If the visa is approved, the person is eligible for a work permit and may apply for permanent residence (a “green card”) after 3 years with U visa status as long as other requirements are met.  Spouses, parents, and children of the victim may be eligible for these benefits too, if they qualify.

To complete this process, it is important to consult with an immigration attorney with experience in these cases to determine eligibility.  It is best to talk to an immigration lawyer to resolve the case fully and protect any forms of immigration relief available for you and your family.

Call our immigration attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth today with questions about the U visa, or any other legal matters. Call us today at: 1-888-517-9888.

President Obama’s call for comprehensive immigration reform rejected

Many of us would like to believe that a New Year will bring a fresh start or a resolution to any lingering issues we had the previous year.  This doesn’t appear to be the case when it comes to immigration reform.  Congress is picking up where it left of at the end of 2013.  The House and Senate are still engaged in a staring contest and neither side is blinking.  They continue to sling mud at each other and are not having much success in gaining bipartisan approval for their policies.

President Obama has recently called on members of Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  A group of House Republicans quickly rejected the Presidents call and said that the legislation that had already passed by the Senate was an “awful deal” for American workers.  They questioned Obama’s stance on getting higher wages for American workers while backing a law that would potentially allow millions of low-skilled workers into the U.S. labor force.

There are countless issues that are preventing the passing of comprehensive immigration reform but there is one major issue that both sides need to agree on before a deal can be made:  And that is the issue of providing a path towards citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.  In 2014 we will see increased pressure from powerful coalitions such as Big Business and Big Labor to agree to a comprehensive deal.

“We’re determined to make 2014 the year that immigration reform is finally enacted,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue said Wednesday, outlining the influential group’s agenda for the year. “The chamber will pull out all the stops — through grassroots lobbying, communications, politics, and partnerships with unions, faith organizations, law enforcement, and others — to get it done … Immigration reform is important to expanding (economic) opportunity as well.”

The battle to pass a comprehensive immigration bill will continue to heat up as we go into the New Year.  If Thomas Donohue’s statement quoted above is any indication then we will likely see more groups or coalitions start to apply more pressure on Congress to make a deal on immigration reform.

Source: FOX News, “House GOP group rejects Obama’s call for comprehensive immigration reform,” Fox News,
January 9, 2013