My wife is a naturalized citizen of the United States, born in Russia. We were in the process of preparing I-130 petitions to bring her elderly parents to the United States.
Then her father disappeared. Just like that. Her parents were gathering mushrooms in the forest, they got separated, and he hasn't been seen again. After over a week of searching, they don't have a clue. He wasn't in great health (he recently had a stroke), and I presume he is dead, but they haven't found the body.
According to the Russian Civil Code,
"A citizen may, upon petition by interested parties, be declared by the court as missing, if during the period of one year there is no information on his whereabouts at his place of residence."
"A citizen may be declared dead by a court if there is no information at his place of residence as to his whereabouts for a period of 5 years. But if he disappeared under circumstances which posed the possibility of death or gave ground to presuppose his death from a specific accident, he may be declared dead if there is no information as to his whereabouts for a period of 6 months."
I am assuming that we will be able to apply for a certificate of death in 6 months if he does not reappear, but I would like to initiate the immigration
process for my mother-in-law immediately. She really has no one now in Russia, and we want to take care of her. But I don't know how to fill out the I-130.
The basic question is this - is she "married" or "widowed"? If married, will it raise a red flag (and delay the process) if we include information about her husband (in C.8 and C.17) but do not indicate that a separate petition is being submitted for him (in D.1)?
Also, is there any way of expediting the process?