Earlier today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a newly revised I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form. (As you are likely aware, employers are required to complete Form I-9 when verifying the identity and employment eligibility of all new employees.) Revisions include the addition of new required data fields (including fields for the employee's telephone number, e-mail address, and foreign passport number), and a streamline of the form's instructions. In addition, the length of the form (excluding instructions) has expanded from one to two pages. The new form is posted at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.On April 1, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting new H-1B petitions for professional positions. Although the petitions should be filed on March 29th (for delivery on Monday, April 1st), the start date for the employment would be no earlier than October 1, 2013.

Employers are required to use the new Form I-9 immediately. However, recognizing that many employers may need time to make necessary updates to their electronic employee verification systems,USCIS is providing employers with a 60 day grace period in which they may continue to use previous versions of the form. In any event, previous versions of Form I-9 cannot be used after May 7, 2013. As a reminder, employers do not need to complete the new Form I-9 for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless and until the employer is required to reverify the employee's work authorization (such as when the employee extends her nonimmigrant workauthorized status).