The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), recently announced the availability of the newly revised Form I-9. The purpose of the form, which all US employers regardless of size are required to maintain for their employees, is to document that each employee (both citizen and noncitizen) hired after November 6, 1986 is authorized to work in the United States.
In a regulation published on November 26, 2007, the USCIS has instructed that the version of the Form I-9 posted on its website "is the only valid version of the form." Employers should use the amended Form I-9 (Rev. 06/05/07)N for all individuals hired on or after November 7, 2007. The new form is also required for all employees needing re-verification of their employment authorization. Employers have a 30-day period in which to transition to the new Form I-9 and, as of December 26, 2007, employers who fail to use the new form, and applicable instructions, may be subject to penalties.
While the Form I-9 is completed in the same manner as always, USCIS has changed the types of documents employers may accept in Section 2, the Employer Review and Verification section. The most significant change is the removal of five documents from List A of the List of Acceptable Documents. The eliminated documents are:
- Certificate of US Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-570)
- Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
- Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151)
- Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327) and
- Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571)
Also, one document – the most recent version of the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) – has been added to List A.
Form I-9 includes other revisions. The instructions regarding Section 1, the Employee Information and Verification section, now indicate that an employee is not obligated to provide a Social Security Number in Section 1 unless the employer participates in E-Verify. Also, the section on "Photocopying and Retaining Form I-9" now includes information about electronically signing and retaining I-9 forms. The revised form is available in both English and Spanish. The Spanish version, however, can be used only in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Both the Form I-9 and the Employer Handbook are available online at www.uscis.gov/i-9.
As indicated in the supplementary information of the regulation, employers should expect broader changes to the Form I-9 and the employment verification process. Moreover, as highlighted in previous client communications, the US government has augmented its efforts over the past year to toughen internal enforcement of the nation's immigration compliance laws. Therefore, employers should take this opportunity to review their internal procedures relating to I-9 employment verification and retention.