As of December 26, 2007, all U.S. employers have been required to use a new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The new form incorporates statutory and regulatory changes that were made to the employer sanctions laws more than ten years ago. While the requirement of verifying the employment eligibility of all employees upon hire remains as it has been since 1986, the new form reflects the changes that were brought in 1996, when Congress made changes to the law, and in 1997, when the immigration agency drew up new regulations to enforce that law. Many of the changes dealt with acceptable I-9 documents.

The new form eliminates five documents that had been used to verify a person’s identity and employment authorization (List A documents): Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (N-550 or N-570); Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570); the old-style Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-151); Unexpired Reentry Permit (I-327); and Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (I-571). Unexpired I-688 Employment Authorization Cards have been List A documents for years, but the new form adds to that category the form I-766.

The new government manual for completing the I-9 form, Handbook for Employers, which includes a copy of the new form, is available on the USCIS website at:

http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274.pdf  

Note that the Handbook instructs at page 5 that providing a social security number is voluntary for all employees, unless the employer participates in the USCIS E-Verify Program. In that event, including the social security number on the form I-9 is mandatory.