On March 20, 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) implemented temporary changes, announcing that it would accept all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures for submissions starting March 21, 2020.
Up to that time, USCIS accepted many petitions, applications and other documents bearing an electronically reproduced original signature. This means that a document may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced, as long as the copy is from the original document containing a handwritten “wet” signature, unless the form or document instructions otherwise specified. Prior to the pandemic, some forms still required an original “wet” signature, per specific form instructions. The announced flexibility advised that USCIS would temporarily accept electronically reproduced original signatures for all benefit forms and documents.
On July 25, 2022, USCIS announced that the signature flexibility announced in March, 2020, will immediately become permanent policy.
This is welcome news in our modern electronic age because sending forms and documents around the world for original signatures is time consuming and expensive.
It is important to ensure that forms and documents which are signed and then scanned, photocopied, printed, emailed or faxed should be of a very high quality because many USCIS forms contain barcodes that must remain clear enough to be scanned. Moreover, if you are sending these to your attorney, such forms may be printed for signature by your attorney, which can lower overall form and document quality. Most important; keep the original, as USCIS retains the right to request it for inspection.
If you have any questions about the U.S. visas or immigration, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and speak with a U.S. immigration attorney in Ho Chi Minh City, Manila and Taipei.