Revoking I-130 Petitions

When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) approves a family-based I-130 petition, the agency’s approval provides a necessary step towards obtaining an immigrant visa or adjusting status. After USCIS approves the I-130 petition, can the petition become invalid? The answer is, “Yes.” In general, approved petitions remain valid for the duration of the petitioner and beneficiary’s relationship as well as the petitioner’s status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. However, INA § 203(g) and 8 C.F.R. Part 205 provide guidance as to when certain events revoke an I-130 petition’s approval.

Petition Revoked During Consular Processing

When applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, an approved I-130 petition becomes revoked when a consulate terminates a foreign national’s registration pursuant to INA § 203(g).  If a foreign national does not apply for an immigrant visa within 1 year after the diplomatic post notifies the applicant about the visa’s availability, INA § 203(g) requires terminating the applicant’s registration. An embassy or consulate can reinstate the registration within 2 years after the notification’s date if the applicant demonstrates that circumstances beyond her or his control caused the failure to apply for the visa.  

Other Reasons for Revocation

Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 205.1(a)(3), an embassy, consulate, or USCIS may also determine that a revocation occurred before a beneficiary begins the journey to America or USCIS issues a final decision on an adjustment application (I-485 Form). An I-130 petition becomes revoked when:

  • a petitioner withdraws the I-130 petition by filing a notice with USCIS,
  • upon the beneficiary or self-petitioner’s death,
  • a petitioner dies unless USCIS approves the petition as a petition for an Amerasian, widow(er), or special immigrant,
  • a petitioner dies unless USCIS reinstates the petition’s approval for humanitarian reasons,
  • a marriage’s legal termination for marriage-based I-130 petitions,
  • when a child reaches age 21 except (1) when a U.S. citizen filed the petition for a child or (2) a U.S. citizen’s abused child files a self-petition,
  • when a noncitizen child marries except (1) when a U.S. citizen filed the I-130 petition or (2) a U.S. citizen’s abused child files a self-petition,
  • when a permanent resident’s daughter or son marries,
  • if the petitioner’s permanent resident status becomes legally terminated unless the petitioner obtains U.S. citizenship.    

An Exception to Revoking a Marriage-Based Petition

If a foreign national suffered abuse from a petitioner, American law provides protection to the victim-spouse during the immigration process. Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 205.1(a)(3)(i)(D), terminating a marriage with an abusive spouse will not cause USCIS to revoke an approved petition. However, petition revocation will occur if the abused-spouse remarries before beginning the journey to the U.S. or USCIS approves an I-485 application.    

No Revocation Happens When a U.S. Citizen’s Son or Daughter Marries

When a U.S. citizen files an I-130 petition for an unmarried daughter or son, the approved petition will remain valid after a child marries her or his spouse. Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 205.1(a)(3)(i)(H), the child will receive INA § 203(a) preference status. 

Humanitarian Reinstatement for a Revoked Petition

If an approved petition becomes revoked because the petitioner died, the principal beneficiary may request that USCIS reinstate the approved petition for humanitarian reasons. When requesting humanitarian reinstatement, a relative must file an affidavit of support as a substitute sponsor for the principal beneficiary. USCIS does not charge a fee to request humanitarian reinstatement. USCIS exercises discretion when reviewing a humanitarian reinstatement application, which means the agency considers positive and negative factors in the review process.