U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Use of the new edition becomes mandatory on Jan. 22, 2017. Form I-9 is used by U.S. employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of new employees and to re-verify continuing employment authorization of existing workers who hold temporary employment authorization only.

New Form I-9

The new revision is a long-awaited, "smart" Form I-9, touted by USCIS as being easier to complete by computer. Electronic enhancements to the form include drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, as well as embedded instructions for each response field.

Other changes include:

  • Prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
  • A dedicated area on the form for including additional information.
  • An option to clear the form and start over.
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • A supplemental page for the preparer(s)/translator(s).

The new electronic Form I-9 does not accept electronic signatures and must still be printed, signed manually and retained in line with existing I-9 retention requirements.

Best Practices for Employers

To ensure timely compliance with the new Form I-9 requirements:

  1. Update your employment authorization verification processes to include the new Form I-9 before Jan. 22, 2017.
  2. Urge responsible employees to become familiar with the features of the new Form I-9 and its instructions, which are now separate from the form.
  3. Periodically review internal Form I-9 practices to ensure continuing compliance with I-9 requirements.
  4. Conduct regular self-audits of Form I-9 documents to identify and rectify non-compliant cases.

Practice Update Relating to Form I-9

Beginning Jan.17, 2017, the validity of an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may be automatically extended for up to 180 days when a foreign national has filed a timely renewal application. The existing EAD and renewal filing receipt (Form I-797) can be presented for I-9 purposes.