With all the recent media coverage regarding issues with the delivery of the mail, it is no wonder that USCIS is adopting changes that will permit them to confirm that important documents have been delivered via USPS to the intended recipient. Effective October 2, 2020, USCIS will begin us U.S. Postal Service’s Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery service for all USCIS secure identification documents (such as Permanent Resident Cards and Employment Authorization Documents). The U.S. Postal Service’s Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery (SCRD) service will allow USCIS to track the date and time an item was delivered and that the package is delivered to the intended recipient. However, this change to the method of delivery presents complications for foreign nationals awaiting these documents.
Delivery requires recipient to present an acceptable U.S. identity document
The U.S. Postal Service will only allow the intended recipient to sign for the delivery. To prove their identity, recipients must provide a valid U.S. identity document. Foreign Nationals who lack an acceptable identity document, such as a state-issued drivers’ license or a document containing a picture issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, may be unable to receive their delivery directly.
Recipient must be physically present to receive documents
Being physically present to accept delivery poses a number of challenges to foreign nationals, especially considering that mail is generally delivered during normal business hours when a foreign national is generally not physically present and it may not be possible to determine when the document will arrive. It is possible to instruct USCIS to send the documents in care of the foreign national’s attorney, but the attorney must also be physically present and provide acceptable identity documentation when the document is delivered. The document cannot be signed for by another employee in the attorney’s office. It is likely that the attorney would not be able to amend their schedule to wait for the delivery.
SOME POSSIBLE REMEDIES
Designate an agent to receive mail on your behalf
It is possible for the foreign national to arrange to designate an agent to receive mail on their behalf by completing Form PS 3801. Their agent must be someone who can present a valid U.S. identity document and be physically present when the document arrives.
Arrange to pick up the document at a USPS facility
If a foreign national, or their designated agent have a valid U.S. identity document, they can also make arrangements to pick up the documents from a USPS facility. When an attempted delivery is missed, the mail carrier will leave a Form PS 3849 that will include instructions for contacting the U.S. Postal Service to arrange redelivery or pick up.
Track your deliveries
You can sign up for USPS Informed Delivery which includes notifications of all mail to be delivered each day, along with a helpful app to facilitate the tracking process.