The DHS issued a final rule, effective on August 23, 2010, that amends its regulations regarding how Forms I-9 may be electronically signed and stored. These new rules clarify that:
Employers must complete the Form I-9 within three business days, not three calendar days, of the hire date;
Employers may elect to use an electronic storage system, as long as it satisfies regulatory requirements;
Employers using electronic systems need not retain audit trails for every viewing of the Form I-9, only when the Form I-9 is created, completed, updated, or modified, altered, or corrected; and
Employers may provide employees with confirmation of Form I-9 completion but are not required to do so unless the employee requests a copy.
This final rule serves as another reminder of the importance for employers to make sure that each vendor offering electronic Form I-9 support has a system that satisfies all regulatory requirements. Otherwise, employers may end up discarding paper Forms I-9 in reliance on a system that the DHS will not accept, and that could lead to substantial fines.