On November 7, 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) is now available for use by employers. Immediate use of the new form is encouraged, but will not be required until notice is provided in the Federal Register. After the effective date of the notice, employers may incur fines and penalties for failure to use the new Form I-9.

All employers are required to complete Form I-9 for each new employee they hire in the United States, in order to verify the employee’s identity and work eligibility. The new revisions to Form I-9 are a first step towards achieving full compliance with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), which reduced the number of documents employers could accept from new employees during the employment eligibility verification process.

The biggest revision in the new Form I-9 is the elimination of 5 documents from “List A,” documents that can be used to establish both identity and employment eligibility. The following may no longer be used: Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-570); Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570); Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151); the unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327); and the unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571). The USCIS has added one document to List A: the most recent version of the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766).

In addition to the changes to List A, the Instructions to Form I-9 have been revised. The instructions regarding Section 1 of the form now provide that the employee is not obligated to provide the Social Security Number in Section 1, unless he or she is employed by an employer who participates in E-Verify. The instructions on Photocopying and Retaining Form I-9 now include information about electronically signing and retaining I-9 forms pursuant to Department of Homeland Security regulations at 8 CFR § 274a.2.

Finally, employers should be advised that they only need to complete the new Form I-9 for new hires. They do not need to complete new forms for existing employees unless these employees require re-verification.

Both the revised Form I-9 and the Employer Handbook are available at  www.uscis.gov, or by calling the USCIS’s toll-free number at 1-800-870-3676.