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USCIS Restricts Use of Powers of Attorney

By March 5, 2018May 19th, 2021H-1B and E-3 Visa, Immigration
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In a new policy memorandum issued on February 16, 2018, USCIS will no longer accept an employer’s applications or petitions if they are signed by outside counsel under power of attorney. Filings made on behalf of a corporation or other legal entity must be signed by an authorized officer or employee of the entity then may be returned to outside counsel for filing with government agencies. The new guidance supersedes a 2016 policy memorandum that permitted employers to authorize their outside immigration counsel or other outside representatives to sign petitions and applications under a validly executed power of attorney.

This policy will take effect on March 17, 2018 and will impact the upcoming H-1B cap season, which begins on April 2, 2018. According to the policy memorandum, USCIS will recognize the following as authorized signatories on behalf of an organization:

  • An executive officer of a corporation with the authority to act on behalf of the entity and to legally bind the entity in all matters, such as a CEO, president or vice president.
  • An attorney employed in an employer-employee relationship by the corporation or other legal entity as its legal representative or in its legal department, such as in-house counsel or other attorney employees.
  • A person employed in an employer-employee relationship as a human resources professional within the entity’s HR, human capital or similar department who is authorized to sign legal documents on behalf of the corporation or other legal entity.
  • Any other person employed in an employer-employee relationship by the corporation or other legal entity who has the authority to legally bind the entity to the terms and conditions attached to the specific immigration request and the attestations made in the request, regardless of the person’s title or department with the corporation or other legal entity.
  • A managing member or managing partner of a limited-liability corporation or limited-liability partnership.
  • A duly authorized partner of a partnership.

In all cases, application or petition must contain a statement by the individual signing the request, affirming that he or she has the legal authority to file the request on the petitioning employer’s behalf that the employer is aware of all of the facts stated in the request, and that such factual statements are complete, true, and correct. If such an affirmation is in the form itself, a signature by the person filing the form may be sufficient to meet this requirement. In cases where the affirmation specified above is not contained in the form or document, USCIS will require a separate statement from the person signing the form or document affirming that he or she has the authority to legally bind the corporation or other legal entity. To learn more about the H-1B visa, please click here.

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