By: Gilyana Serinova
With limited exceptions, USCIS issued final policy guidance stating that it will no longer accept POA signatures in lieu of valid signatures from petitioners and applicants who seek immigration benefits. The new policy becomes effective March 18, 2018.
How This Will Impact Employers
- USCIS has stated that “power of attorney signatures will no longer be accepted. If forms are filed by a corporation or other legal entity, they must be signed by an authorized person”.
- If a signed request is determined to be invalid, USCIS will consider the request to be unsigned. The request will consequently be rejected and returned.
- A request that has been accepted for adjudication and is later realized to lack a valid signature will also be denied.
Who Can Sign?
- Individuals Filing a Request or Any Other Document with USCIS
Individuals must personally sign any request of document submitted to USCIS. USCIS has excluded corporations, other legal entities, attorneys, accredited representatives, agents, preparers, and interpreters from the term “individual”. Exceptions are made for those who are under 14 years of age or mentally incompetent.
- Employees Within a Corporation or Other Permitted Legal Entities Submitting a Request or Document to USCIS
Only individuals who meet one of the criteria below may be an authorized signatory to sign on behalf of the entity:
- An executive officer of a corporation or Professional Corporation (P.C.) with authority to act on behalf of the corporate entity and legally bind and commit the corporate entity in all matters (such as the chief executive officer, president, vice president);
- A managing member or managing partner of an LLC or LLP;
- A duly authorized partner of a partnership;
- An attorney employed in an employer-employee relationship by the corporation or other legal entity;
- A person employed in an employer-employee relationship as a human resources professional within the entity’s human resources;
- An executor or administrator of an estate;
- A trustee of a trust or a properly appointed conservator; or
- Any other person employed in an employer-employee relationship by the corporation or other legal entity who has the authority to legally bind and commit the corporation;
Authorized individuals submitting requests or documents, including those on behalf of a child or mentally impaired person, or on behalf of a corporation or other legal entity, will be held accountable should any indication of fraud and/or material misrepresentation be evident.
How Employers Can Stay Updated During this Period
Given this announcement, it is imperative for employers to seek sound advice and to plan properly for any unexpected changes. We encourage employers to do the following:
- Work with your Immigration Practitioner to address any questions or concerns you should have and for more information regarding revised instruction for individual forms and their signature requirements.
- Plan ahead, especially with the impending H-1B Cap season (FY 2019).
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