On December 17, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security issued an interim final rule amending its regulations governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents that employers may accept from newly hired employees and reverifying current employees in completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification ("I-9 form").

To implement these amendments, a new I-9 form is being issued which employers must use once the interim rule takes effect on February 2, 2009. Employers will be required to use the new I-9 form, and accept only those documents listed on the new form. The current edition of the I-9 form, dated 06/05/2007 (the "old I-9 form"), will no longer be valid for use after February 2, 2009. Employers who continue using the old I-9 form after this date – for new hires or reverifications – will be subject to civil money penalties.

The major changes reflected in the new I-9 form are:

  • Expired documents are no longer acceptable. Under the old I-9 form, expired documents were acceptable for certain documents like U.S. passports. For the new I-9 form, all documents presented by employees must be valid, unexpired documents. A document containing no expiration date, such as a Social Security card, will be deemed unexpired.
  • The following documents are now acceptable for establishing both identity and employment authorization and therefore have been added to List A of the List of Acceptable Documents:
    • (1) Foreign passports containing a temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa. The pre-printed temporary I-551 notation is issued after the individual is admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident.
    • (2) Passports from the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of the Marshall Islands with a form I-94 or I-94A.
  • Form I-688 "Temporary Resident Card" and forms I-688A and I-688B "Employment Authorization Cards" are no longer acceptable documents because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") no longer issues them and any such documents previously-issued have now expired. Accordingly, they have been removed from List A.

The interim final rule and an informational copy of the new I-9 form is available online at www.regulations.gov (enter "employment eligibility verification" in the search field) for 45 days after publication of the rule. The new I-9 form will be available on USCIS' website, www.uscis.gov, as of February 2, 2009. Paper copies of the form can be ordered by calling USCIS at 1-800-870-3676. USCIS also will be updating its Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 (M-274) to reflect the amendments made by the interim final rule and the new I-9 form, and the agency will post the revised version on its website.