Employers in the United States are required to verify the identity and employment authorization for every worker they hire after November 6, 1986, regardless of the employee’s immigration status or whether the employee is a US citizen. To comply with the law, employers must complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Section 1 of Form I-9 must be completed and signed by the employee no later than the first day of employment, but not before accepting a job offer, and Section 2 must be completed by the employer, in connection with physically examining the appropriate documents, within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment.

The purpose of the form is to ensure that the employer has inspected documents that show the employee is authorized to work in the United States. The Form I-9 is subject to inspection by various governmental agencies, including US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Department of Labor, and the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has again revised Form I-9 for verifying the employment authorization of new employees and employees requiring re-verification. Employers are not required to complete the new Form I-9 for existing employees for whom they have already properly completed Form I-9, except where re-verification is required. Employers are advised that they should begin to use the 03/08/13 edition of the form immediately, but that prior versions of Form I-9, dated 02/02/09 and 08/07/09, will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the 03/08/13 will be accepted. The revision date is shown on the lower left corner of the Form I-9.

The revised Form I-9 expands the instructions to the Form to 6 pages and the Form itself is expanded from one page to two pages.

Important changes in Section 1 are the option for employees to include their e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and to provide passport numbers and country of issuance of passports when the employee is “an alien authorized to work” providing a Form I-94 admission number that was issued to the employee from Customs and Border Protection upon entry into the United States.

Important changes to Section 2 include the requirement for the employer to list the employee’s name from Section 1 at the top block in Section 2 and provides more space to list the document information for the documents used for I-9 purposes. The certification of the employer is more clearly stated and the employer is attesting that the employer has examined the documents and that the documents appear to be genuine and related to the employee, and that to the best of the knowledge of the employer, the employee is authorized to work in the United States.

The List of Acceptable Documents did not delete or add any documents, and the requirement for unexpired documents remains in effect. But, List C clarifies when a social security account number card cannot be used because it has restrictions, such as when the card states that it is “valid for work only with DHS authorization.”

The revised Form I-9 is posted under the “Immigration Forms” section of US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website, here.