Guidelines for Signing USCIS Forms

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guidelines for signing uscis formsDon’t forget to sign your USCIS form! All USCIS applications and petitions require an original “wet ink” signature. That means that a photocopy of a signed form or a typewritten name in place of a signature is not acceptable. Use black ink and sign with the name and style you would use for any other legal document.

Generally, the person seeking an immigrant benefit or other USCIS action must personally sign the request or document. The only exceptions where power of attorney signatures is accepted are signatures on behalf of children under 14 and individuals with disabilities. When filing, consider these requirements for signing USCIS forms.

Signing USCIS Forms for Minors

If you are under 14 years of age, your parent or legal guardian may sign the forms on your behalf. If signing for a child under 14 years of age, sign the child’s name, then write “By” and sign your name.

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Mentally Incompetent Applicants

If the applicant is mentally incompetent, an individual with power of attorney may sign the document on the applicant’s behalf.

Incapacitated Applicants

What if the applicant is incapacitated or otherwise physically impaired so that the quality of penmanship is diminished? As long as the applicant is mentally competent to understand what he or she is signing, the document should be signed by the applicant.

In this situation, it’s acceptable for the applicant to sign with a simple line or mark that he or she considers a signature. Regardless of how bad it looks, the mark that the applicant considers a signature is enough legally.

The person who is preparing the USCIS form on behalf of the applicant and witnesses the signature should include a cover letter that explains the applicant’s limitations and reason for the poor penmanship.

Signature Requirements

  • A valid signature must be a handwritten mark or sign. A signature is valid even if the original signature is later photocopied, scanned, faxed or similarly produced. Regardless of how it is transmitted to USCIS, the copy must be of an original document containing a handwritten, ink signature, unless regulations or the form instructions state otherwise.
  • USCIS will not accept signatures created by a typewriter, word processor, stamp, auto-pen, or similar device.
  • If the signature is not valid, USCIS will consider the request unsigned and will reject the request; If USCIS accepts a request for adjudication and later determines the signature to be deficient, the request will be denied.
  • If a filing is not properly signed at the time of submission, USCIS will not provide an opportunity to correct the submission, and will reject the filing.
  • If USCIS needs additional information to confirm if the signatory is authorized to act on behalf of the individual, corporation, or legal entity, USCIS may issue RFE or NOID to confirm such authority existed at the time the document was submitted.

Who Must Sign a Request Submitted to USCIS

  • The individual (excluding corporations or other legal entities, as well as attorneys, accredited representatives, agents, preparers, and interpreters) seeking an immigrant benefit or other USCIS action must personally sign the request or document. The only situations where power of attorney signatures can be accepted are when the individual is under 14 years old or is mentally incompetent.
  • For corporations and other legal entities, only certain individuals, such as executive officers, managing members/partners, attorneys employed in an employer-employee relationship, and human resources managers, have the authority to sign a request or other documents to be filed with USCIS. Any of the authorized individual must be employed by the corporation or the legal entity.
  • Should USCIS have reason to doubt the veracity of the person’s authority to sign or act on behalf of the corporation or other legal entity, it may request evidence which demonstrates the person has the requisite legal authority to sign the request.
Source: USCIS