On August 16th, USCIS announced that all Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for Liberian nationals in the US on the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program would be automatically extended until March 31, 2012. The DED program has been extended for 18 months, with a new expiration date of Marcy 31, 2013. The Automatic EAD extension will allow eligible Liberians to keep working at their places of employment while their applications for new EADs are in process. While this development is great news for Liberian nationals on DED, it creates more work for their employers when completing, correcting or reverifying the I-9 form to reflect this development. Below are the three possible scenarios that may arise as a result of the automatic extension and information on how the I-9 should be completed under each one.
New Hire I-9s During Automatic Extension Period
Employers may accept an expired EAD that has been auto-extended to complete a Form I-9 as long as the document name, number, and new expiration date of March 31, 2012 in Section 2 under List A. The employer cannot request that an employee provide proof that he or she is a national of a country designated for DED, but the employer may verify whether the employee in question is DED eligible by checking to see if the EAD document contains the category notation “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under. If a given employee presents an EAD, the employer must accept it if it reasonably appears on its face to be genuine and pertains to the employee presenting the card. In general most employees in this situation will provide their employers with the expiring or expired EAD as well as a copy of the USCIS announcement regarding the automatic extension. These are sufficient to meet the I-9 requirements.
I-9 Reverification for Existing Employees
For current employees, who are affected by the automatic extension, employers must “correct” the I-9 to show the new EAD expiration date. USCIS reccomends the following procedure on page 9 of the M274 Employer Handbook: The employer should draw a line through the expiration date of the EAD in Section 2, write the new date to which the EAD has been extended above the previous date, write “DED Ext” in the margin of Section 2, and initial and date the correction.
Reverification upon Expiration of Automatic Extension Period
Upon the expiration of the automatic extension period, employers must re-verify a given employee’s employment authorization via a Form I-9. Specifically, the employer must enter the document name, number, and expiration date in Section 3 of the Form I-9. The DED beneficiary may present an unexpired EAD with an updated expiration date or any other document from List A or C of Form I-9 establishing that he or she continues to be authorized to work in the United States. If the employee in question presents a new EAD, it will read either “A-12” or “C-19” on the face of the card under “Category,” and the EAD will then become acceptable as evidence of both identity and employment authorization. If the employee in question cannot furnish proof of current employment authorization, the employer cannot continue to employ that person.