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Signature Requirements on Immigration Forms: A Post-COVID Update

By May 15, 2024News
Digital signatures

The process of filing immigration forms has always been meticulous, with specific requirements concerning the signatures needed. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes, simplifying certain aspects of this process.

The Shift from Wet Signatures to Digital Alternatives

Historically, the U.S. government required “wet signatures” on all immigration petitions filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This meant that each form needed to be physically signed by the petitioner and, in some cases, their attorney, leading to logistical challenges, especially when signatories were in different locations.

Impact of COVID-19 on Signature Protocols

With the advent of COVID-19, there was a swift adaptation in the protocol for handling immigration documents. Recognizing the difficulties associated with obtaining wet signatures amid global lockdowns and social distancing measures, USCIS began accepting scanned and photocopied signatures. This change was not only a response to the pandemic but also an alignment with modern business practices, where even multi-billion dollar transactions are often executed with digital signatures.

Current Guidelines and Their Benefits

This modification has now been made permanent, easing the submission process and reducing the turnaround time for document handling. The ability to use scanned signatures eliminates the need for mailing documents back and forth, thereby streamlining the entire application process. This is particularly beneficial for international applicants and those who require multiple signatures on their forms.

The permanent shift to accepting digital signatures on immigration forms is a welcome change that aligns with modern administrative practices. If you have further questions about how this update affects your immigration filing process, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our experts.

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