Every paper petition or application you submit to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has to have an original signature done in “wet ink.” This means that the signature cannot be typed or photocopied, and must be in black ink, signed just how you would sign any other legal document. But what exactly are the signature guidelines for USCIS forms? Read on to find out.
Who Has to Provide a Signature on USCIS Forms?
Any individual seeking a USCIS action such as an immigrant benefit is required to personally sign the USCIS request or document. Exceptions to this are corporations, attorneys, accredited representatives, preparers, agents, and interpreters.
The only cases where power of attorney signatures are accepted are when the applicant or individual is under 14 years of age, or is deemed mentally incompetent.
Signature Guidelines for USCIS
In order for a signature to meet signature guidelines for USCIS forms, it must be a handwritten mark or sign, unless instructions on the form state otherwise. The signature cannot be created by a typewriter, word processor, stamp, or other device.
The signature is still considered valid even if it is later scanned, faxed, copied, or produced in a similar manner. All that is important from your perspective is that the original signature was handwritten in black ink.
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What if USCIS considers my signature invalid?
In this case, USCIS will treat the document as if it is unsigned, and will reject the request. They will not provide an opportunity to correct the submission. You will be required to re-file.
What if the form is for a minor child under 14 years old?
For minors under 14 years of age, their parent or legal guardian can sign the form on their behalf. Simply sign the child’s name, then put “by” and your signature.
What if the applicant is considered mentally incompetent?
A person with power of attorney can sign the document on the applicant’s behalf if they are considered mentally incompetent.
What if the applicant is incapacitated?
So long as the applicant has the capacity to understand what they are signing, they should sign the USCIS form to the best of their ability. Even if the signature is rudimentary, like a line or mark, it can be accepted by USCIS so long as a cover letter is included that explains the applicant’s limitations.
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