U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new policy memorandum in mid-February, the provisions of which took effect on March 18, 2018. The memorandum concerns signatures on immigration applications, petitions, requests, and other documents filed with USCIS. More specifically, the memorandum reversed the policy in a previous interim memorandum that permitted power of attorney signatures on immigration documents. USCIS reportedly made these changes due to concerns about consistency, fraud, and program integrity.
Under the new memorandum, all individuals submitting an application, petition, request, or other document to USCIS must contain personal signatures. An individual’s signature must be a handwritten sign or mark in order to be valid; USCIS will not accept signatures with a word processor, typewriter, stamp, or another type of device. Although the original handwritten signature must be in ink, USCIS will accept a photocopied or scanned copy of the original signature. However, the memorandum does not affect the signatures of minor under the age of 14 or disabled individuals who are mentally incompetent.
If USCIS receives an application, petition, or other legal document with an insufficient or improper signature, it has the right to reject the filing altogether rather than to give the individual filing the document any opportunity to correct the deficiency. Furthermore, if USCIS doubts the legitimacy of the signature on a document, it can request evidence showing that the individual has the legal authority to sign the document. For instance, an authorized person must sign a petition or other legal document to be filed with USCIS on behalf of a corporation. The authorized person must be employed by the corporation.
At Peek & Toland, we care about keeping your family together and preserving your American home. We will focus all of our efforts on standing up for your rights and representing your interests as you seek to obtain a legal immigration status and avoid deportation. Our knowledgeable immigration lawyers know the best strategies for gathering evidence to support your case and navigating the complex rules of the U.S. immigration system. Allow us to handle your immigration case by sitting down with us today and discussing your case.