As an early holiday present, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has rolled out the newer and “smarter” version of Form I-9. Although the grand reveal did not elicit as much excitement as Apple’s iPhone 7, the new version of Form I-9 includes many electronic features that employers should be excited about.
The new form is designed to be completed electronically, but it still requires an employer to print out the form after completing it, and to date and sign it manually. That said, there are some nice electronic enhancements that make the form more user-friendly: drop-down menus, automatic populations, and error messages for times when a required field is inadvertently left blank. As part of its “smart” feature, the new form will not allow employers to insert an electronic signature, reminding them to print the form. The new version also includes specific instructions in each field if (and when) a question arises.
In addition to the electronic enhancements, the new version has a few substantive changes. For example, Section 1 used to ask for “other names used.” The new version asks only for “other last names used.” Employers will now have to affirm whether they used a preparer or translator. There is space to enter multiple consultants: Immigration Customs and Enforcement must have been tired of reading scribbles in the margins of the form, so the new version now has a dedicated area for including additional information.
The USCIS has confirmed that the “old” Form I-9 (03/08/13 edition) may still be used until January 21, 2017. Beginning January 22, 2017, however, employers will need to use the new version (11/14/16 edition). Instructions for downloading the form can be found at I-9 Central. To download the form, a user must have Adobe Reader 8 or higher.