USCIS Finalizes Guidance on Signature Requirements

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last month that petitioners and applicants who seek immigration benefits must provide a valid signature on forms submitted to the agency. In an effort to protect and safeguard the nation’s immigration system and those who benefit from it, power of attorney signatures will no longer be accepted. If forms are filed by a corporation or other legal entity, they must be signed by an authorized person. The new policy is effective March 18, 2018. This final policy memorandum updates an interim memo that outlined the elements of a valid signature and permitted entities that filed petitions with USCIS to use the signature of an individual based on a power of attorney. Because of concerns about consistency and program integrity, USCIS reversed the interim memorandum’s policy on power of attorney signatures. The prohibition on power of attorney signatures does not affect signatures on behalf of individuals younger than age 14 or those with disabilities. The final memorandum makes additional changes such as providing that an authorized signatory must be employed by the petitioner and that USCIS may reject a form submitted with a faulty signature instead of offering the opportunity to fix the deficiency. USCIS will publish revised instructions for individual forms to clearly specify the applicable signature requirements. USCIS will also address requirements for electronic signatures in future guidance. For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit www.uscis.gov.