Have you Forgotten to Sign your Immigration Form!

Have you ever forgotten to sign an application form? Maybe signing it at the wrong place?  Under some newer and stricter signature requirements announced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it is more important than ever to sign your immigration application correctly.  If a signature does not meet the new requirements, the application will be rejected and return to the applicant by USCIS. There will not be a second chance to correct the error.  It means that if you file an application a few days before the deadline without a proper signature, you will most likely miss the deadline.  

Scope of the new requirements:  The requirements apply to any request for immigration benefits including any application, petition, or any written request for benefit such as a request for deferred action.   The new requirements do not apply to applications or petitioners submitted via the "e-filing" mechanism of the USCIS.  
New requirements for individual applicants: The new requirements require that all immigration applications and requests must be signed by the person making the request.  A legal guardian or parent can sign for a child under 14 years of age.  A mentally incompetent individual's application may also be signed by her legal guardian.  USCIS will no longer accept signatures by a third party under the authority of a power of attorney (POA).  The only exception is that a person may sign an immigration request for an incapacitated adult under the authority of a durable POA. A petition by a company must be signed by an authorized personnel.  Signatures must be handwritten by ink; signatures created by a computer, typewriter, word processor, stamp, or similar device will not be accepted.  Although USCIS states that an original signature can be photocopied, scanned, faxed, or otherwise reproduced for submission, the applicant must still submit original signatures if it is required by the instruction of an application form.

New requirements for companies and other legal entities: Immigration applications and requests by non-persons must be signed by an individual who is authorized to legally bind the non-person to the terms and conditions of the application.  These may include corporations, limited liability company (LLC), limited liability partnership (LLP), an estate, etc.  The immigration request must contain a statement by the individual signing the request affirming that 1) he or she has the legal authority to file the request on the petitioning employer's behalf; 2) the employer is aware of all the facts stated in the request, and that such factual statements are complete, true, and correct.
What does an applicant's signature mean:  A valid signature signifies that the applicant knows of the content of the request and any supporting documents; has reviewed and approves of any information contained in such request and any supporting documents; and certifies under penalty of perjury that the request an any other supporting documents are true and correct.

The new rules, announced  by a USCIS Policy Memo dated February 15, 2018, are more restrictive than before.  As a general rule, applicants should try to read and confirm everything before signing and submitting any request for immigration benefit with original signatures. 


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