A signature is not required for permanent resident cards, also known as green cards, to be valid for Form I-9 purposes, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Green cards are official documents issued by USCIS that can be presented as proof of identity and work authorization during the employment verification process. The agency recently announced that since February 2015, USCIS has been waiving the signature requirement for people entering the United States for the first time as lawful permanent residents after obtaining an employment visa abroad from a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. “When we issue a green card without a signature, the card will say ‘Signature Waived’ on the front and back of the card where a signature would normally be located,” the agency said.
In the past, USCIS had waived the signature requirement in limited cases for certain people, such as children under the age of consent and individuals who are physically unable to provide a signature. “I think the signature waiver will help USCIS streamline the production of the actual card itself,” said Ann Cun, senior attorney in the Meyer Law Group’s San Francisco office. “Capturing signatures that conformed to a box on a form has always been a challenge. With the added security measures our government takes through biometrics and background checks, the signature may become an obsolete security feature.” Cun said that so long as HR professionals are aware that a waived signature does not invalidate a green card, and the card reasonably appears to be genuine, the process for verifying work authorization should continue like before.