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USCIS Issues Policy Memo On Signatures For Documents

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According to Law360, Individuals submitting requests or any other documents to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services must personally sign the paperwork with a pen for it to be considered, according to a draft version of a proposed policy memorandum released on Tuesday.

The memorandum is meant to serve as a guide for those adjudicating USCIS matters so that filings are treated consistently, as a way to verify the identity of applicants and to ensure that those signing off on documents are held legally accountable for the included information, according to the agency’s filing.

The memorandum specifically precludes the use of signatures produced by stamps, automatic pens or devices such as word processors or typewriters, and only allows others to sign a document for an applicant if the person is less than 14 years of age or is otherwise mentally incapable of doing so.

For a signature to be deemed valid, it does not need to be legible, written in English or in cursive handwriting, and may be abbreviated, as long as the mark is consistent with how the person typically signs his or her name, according to the policy. For those who are unable to write in any language, he or she may place an “X” or another similar mark in the indicated space, according to the memorandum.

The policy does not apply to documents filed through the USCIS’ Electronic Immigration System or through other similar electronic formats, according to the memorandum, which notes that the agency will address the policy for electronic signatures in a future missive.

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