Who should be the signatory for immigration forms within a company?

This is a question that many new corporate clients ask us, and it's a great question! The USCIS policy manual instructs that benefit requests (immigration filings) filed by legal entities like corporations, LLCs, etc should be signed "by a person with the authority to sign on behalf of the petitioning entity." That certainly leaves a lot a leeway, but it also doesn't mean that just anyone employed by the company can sign the immigration paperwork. Authorized persons typically include:

  • An executive officer (CEO, COO, CFO, CLO, president, vice-president, etc.)
  • A managing partner
  • The business owner
  • An HR director or manager

The person signing the document must have the authority to legally bind and commit the entity to the terms and conditions attached to the immigration filing, and attestations made in the request.

Some of our corporate clients designate one person as the immigration point of contact (POC) - the person who coordinates directly with our team - and designates a separate person as the signatory. Others have the immigration point of contact also be the signatory. Either way works, but here are some things to consider in determining who will be the signatory for immigration forms for your company:

  1. Familiarity: The person signing the forms should ideally be familiar with the overall immigration processes, timelines, options, etc. Educating clients (employers and employees) is literally our job, and we love doing it! So the person signing the immigration forms does not need to be an immigration law professional - we've got your back! But if the person has some understanding of the process, or at least a little time and interest to let us teach that person, that's ideal. Sumner School Immigration Basics is a great place to start!
  2. Risk Management: Both the immigration POC and the signatory should have authority to make decisions about risk management. Immigration law is not black and white; there will be times when tough decisions need to be made. Those decisions certainly can be made by a small group of people, but the POC and signatory should be aware of the risks, benefits, the decisions made, and why they are made.
  3. Availability and communication: Most immigration filings require several different forms, just for one person's filings. It's helpful if the signatory (and POC) are regularly available to review and sign forms. A lot of times, this may mean that someone like the CEO is not the best person for the job.
  4. Documentation and record-keeping: Documentation and record-keeping are a core part of our job as clients' immigration law team, but there are certain documents that the employer must keep on file, with the assistance of your immigration team. The POC or signatory must be have capacity to maintain and review these records as needed.

Certainly the decision of who the signatory for immigration forms should be made with care and intention. The person signing is making attestations and committing to certain terms and conditions of employment on behalf of the company. But that being said, there is flexibility as to what particular person/position will have this task. We find that various positions work for this particular role, depending on a variety of factors including the company's size, immigration case volume, company structure, and specific roles and delegation authority within the company.

If you are not yet a Sumner Immigration Law client and you’re looking for an experienced, empathetic, and efficient team to help you navigate the process with confidence, please contact us today and set up your initial consultation to get the process started! You can set an appointment online. You can also call us at 804-396-3412 or send us an email at info@sumnerimmigration.com. We are immigration lawyers in Richmond, VA but we serve clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. For more information on our firm visit Who We Are and What Makes Us Different! We look forward to hearing from you!

As always, the above information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. Please speak with a qualified immigration lawyer before taking action.