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. While 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 imprisonment for the employer.
All employers in the United States will soon be required to use a new version of the I-9 Form. Additionally, new regulations will become effective that change the list of acceptable documents for I-9 purposes. The most important change is that expired documents will no longer be acceptable. Each document presented must be unexpired, unless it does not have an expiration date (such as a Social Security card). The new Form and regulations were scheduled to go into effect on February 2, 2009. However, on January 30, 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a notice delaying the effective date of the Form and regulations until April 3, 2009, due to a White House request to review pending regulations.
Section 1 of the 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. Noncitizen nationals of the United States are: 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 noncitizen 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.
The regulation revises the 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 Form I-9:
1. 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);
2. The new U.S. Passport Card; and
3. 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.