The current Form I-9 expired on August 31, 2012. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been developing a new Form I-9, but the new form is not yet finalized. Employers are instructed by USCIS to continue to use the current Form I-9 until a new form is issued.

The new form is unlikely to be issued until early 2013, but USCIS has released a proposed form. Highlights of the proposed changes include:

  • The form will become 2 pages.
  • “Employers” is defined in the instructions.
  • “Time of hire” is redefined as “no later than the first day of work for pay.”
  • Last name has been clarified to include “two last names or a hyphenated last name.”
  • Employees are instruction to note, “N/A” if they have no maiden name.
  • P.O. boxes are no longer acceptable in the address field.
  • An e-mail and telephone number field has been added (to assist the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in contacting the employee), which are optional.
  • The citizenship or immigration status boxes have been defined.
  • A new set of instructions for minors and certain disabled employees.
  • The Thursday Rule (providing for completion of section 2 prior to close of business on the Thursday after a Monday hire) is identified and authorized.
  • Specific instructions are provided to employers hiring foreign students.
  • Employers are authorized to receive expired documents and receipt notices is certain instances.
  • Attempts by employers to use section 3 to re-verify U.S.
  • citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents is strictly prohibited.
  • The election as an “alien authorized to work” has been greatly expanded to include separate sections for alien registration/USCIS number identification (limited to 9 digits) AND for aliens presenting an I-94 (expanded to 11 digits).
  • An alien authorized to work utilizing an I-94 also is required to include his or her foreign passport number and country of issuance.
  • The list of acceptable documents has two significant changes: the List A foreign passport/I-94 combination is divided into subparts, and the List C Social Security Card section provides examples of the annotations that make the card invalid for I-9 purposes.

Employers must complete a Form I-9 for each newly-hired employee to verify the individual’s identity and authorization to work in the United States. Failure to comply with this obligation may result in criminal prosecution. Even paperwork violations can expose employers to administrative fines of up to $1,100 per form. Thus, it is critical that all employers make verification compliance a high priority.