In response to the COVID-19 National Emergency declared by the President on March 13th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced several changes to operations and application procedures. One of these changes addresses the difficulty in applying for immigration benefits and status adjustments while adhering to social distancing and public health recommendations from the CDC.
For the duration of the National Emergency, USCIS will not require any benefit forms or documents to have “wet” signatures. In other words, applicants can reproduce original signatures by photocopying, scanning, faxing, or otherwise copying documents. This includes Forms I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) dated after March 20, 2020.
In the announcement, USCIS emphasizes that this rule only affects signature protocol, and applicants should follow all other instructions on their forms. Additionally, applicants should keep all original documents with “wet” signatures, as USCIS may request these documents after the National Emergency.
Updates and Support from Verma Law Firm
This adjustment may come as a welcome relief to prospective applicants who are quarantined or hoping to avoid human contact during the COVID-19 crisis. However, you may be rightfully concerned that the emergency is disrupting your time-sensitive immigration process. As of March 18th, all in-person appointments with USCIS were canceled and may or may not be rescheduled. If your visa will soon expire or you are currently facing deportation proceedings, even the smallest delay could be catastrophic.
At Verma Law Firm, we understand the urgency of your matter, and we are fully prepared to help protect your rights and status in the United States. As we learn more about the pandemic and the government’s response, we will keep you informed and adjust our strategies accordingly.