On November 14, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") published a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for use with all new hires. The new version (dated 11/14/2016) will be required for all employers on January 22, 2017. Until that date, employers may continue to use the older version (dated 03/08/2013), or they may begin using the new version immediately.

Overview

The Form I-9 is used by U.S. employers to verify an employee's identity and employment authorization. This requirement applies to both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals and was implemented in 1986 by the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Employers should be aware of several changes in the new version.

  1. Section 1 now only requires "other last names used" rather than all "other names used";
  2. The certification for certain foreign nationals has been streamlined and now takes less time to complete;
  3. Prompts have been included to ensure information is entered correctly;
  4. Space has been added in order to enter multiple preparers and translators;
  5. A supplemental page for the preparer/translator has also been added;
  6. There is now a dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it by writing in the margins; and
  7. The instructions have been separated from the form and include specific instructions for completing each field.

Completing the Form I-9 on a Computer

USCIS has stated that the new version of the form is designed to reduce errors and that it will now be easier to complete on a computer. Employers should be aware of the following additions to the digital Form I-9.

  1. Drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates;
  2. On-screen instructions for each field;
  3. Checks to ensure information is entered correctly;
  4. Easy access to the full instructions;
  5. A button to print the form; and
  6. An option to clear the form and start over.

When the digital Form I-9 is completed and the employer prints the completed form, a quick response code is automatically generated.

Helpful Links

  • Access the Form I-9 and instructions here.
  • Visit I-9 Central for further Form I-9 information and resources here.
  • Read the USCIS press release here.

Practical Takeaways

Employers should be aware of the January 22, 2017 deadline to switch over to the updated Form I-9. This new version of the form is only for use by new hires, which means that employers are not required to issue new Forms I-9 to current employees. It is important for all employers to review the instructions for completing the new Form I-9 before initiating use in hiring practices. Employers should continue to follow the existing storage and retention rules for all of their previously completed Forms I-9.