All employers must use the new version of the I-9 Form that became effective on April 3, 2009. This new I-9 Form includes a revised list of acceptable documents that may be presented for verifi cation, as well as a new category in the attestation portion of Section 1. The most important change to the form is that expired documents are no longer acceptable. Each document presented for verifi cation must be unexpired, unless it does not have an expiration date (such as a Social Security card).
United States law requires that every employer complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verifi cation (“I-9 Form”), for each new employee within three days of hire. When completing the Form, the employee is required to present original documents that demonstrate both identity and authorization to work in the United States. A list of acceptable documents for I-9 purposes is set forth on the back of the Form. Failure to complete the Form can result in fi nes and/or imprisonment for the employer.
Section 1 of the I-9 Form, which is completed by the employee, requires that the employee indicate his or her immigration status in the U.S. A new category has been added to Section 1: “A noncitizen national of the United States.” This is likely to cause confusion, as this term is not defi ned on the Form itself. Non-citizen nationals of the United States are from one of the following groups: individuals who were born in American Samoa; certain residents of the Northern Mariana Islands who are not U.S. citizens; and certain individuals who were born abroad to non-citizen U.S. nationals. Though U.S. nationals do not possess full U.S. citizenship, they are not considered “aliens” under immigration law. They may enter and work in the United States without restriction. In addition, the new I-9 Form includes a list of documents that employers may accept to establish a worker’s identity and employment authorization, known as List A documents. The following documents have been added to List A on the new edition of the I-9 Form:
- Foreign passports containing the I-551 permanent residence notation printed on a machine-readable immigrant visa (previously, List A included only the I-551 passport stamp and I-551 permanent resident card);
- The new U.S. Passport Card; and
- Passports and certain other documents for citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Eliminated from List A are several now-obsolete employment authorization documents. However, Form I-766, the current version of the employment authorization document, remains on List A.
In conjunction with the release of the new I-9 Form, a new employer handbook has been issued, providing instructions for completion of the I-9 Form. The employer handbook can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website: http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274_3apr09.pdf.