USCIS Makes Reproduced Signature Policy Permanent

October 2, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, USCIS implemented many flexibilities, making it easier to handle immigration filings with the challenges many businesses faced. For example, one of the flexibilities the USCIS enacted stopped requiring a “wet ink” signature for some immigration forms.

Due to this flexibility’s success and the positive feedback received, the flexibility became permanent as of July 25, 2022. Therefore, a reproduced signature is acceptable now. However, the USCIS requires signatures for those seeking immigration benefits.

The person applying for immigration benefits must sign their name before filing the form, except in certain circumstances. By signing, the individual indicates that they are authorized to sign the form, know the information presented in the document, and attest that everything is true. Here are some exceptions to the requirement that the person applying for immigration benefits must be the one to sign.

  • A parent or legal guardian is permitted to sign for children under age 14.
  • If a mentally incompetent person benefits from the filing, a legal guardian appointed by a public authority or proper court may sign the filing. The document proving the guardianship must accompany the filing.
  • USCIS will accept a durable power of attorney in the place of an incapacitated adult. The filing must accompany a copy of the durable power of attorney and proof that it meets all conditions to give the signatory necessary authority.

An authorized signatory must sign any government or business entity requests. In addition, such individuals must receive permission from the entity to sign on its behalf.

If an original “wet ink” signature is unavailable, then a reproduction of this signature is required unless otherwise specified. However, the actual signature does not need to be legible. It can be an “X” or a similar mark made in ink, such as a fingerprint. The signature can also be abbreviated if the signatory signs their name in this manner.

There is an exception to this rule when someone files electronically. In this case, the applicant may be allowed to use a typed signature; however, the signatory should follow the instructions for the form.

If the USCIS decides that a signature is insufficient, it will return the entire package. If this happens, the package must be re-submitted with a valid signature. The USCIS does not permit an “improper signature.” However, requesters, petitioners, and applicants have the same appeal and motion options and rights they would otherwise have, based on the form involved.

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