Don’t Panic If That Green Card Does Not Have A Signature

Permanent Resident Cards, commonly called Green Cards (and once again green, after a short period spent as a different color) are often presented as Acceptable Documents for Form I-9.  So long as the card that the person presents to the employer is unexpired, appears genuine, and represents the person who presents the card, it can be considered a valid document for Employment Eligibility Verification. 

If you are familiar with the format of a Green Card, you will recall that there is a photograph of the person to whom the card belongs, and below the photograph there is a place for the person’s signature.  In most cases, USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) does require a signature on the face of the Green Card below the photograph. 

However, employers should be aware that since February 2015, USCIS has been waiving the signature requirement for people entering the US for the first time as lawful permanent residents after obtaining an immigrant visa abroad from a US Embassy or consulate. 

When a Green Card is issued by USCIS without a signature, the card will say “Signature Waived” on both the front of the card (below the photograph) and the back of the card (beside the photograph) on the same places where a signature would normally be found.  These cards that say Signature Waived are still considered proof of identity and work authorization, and the holder is a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

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Director of Human Resources Chester Maull, Lexington Center Corporation