Employers should be on notice that the Department of Homeland Security has published a new edition of the Form I-9 for use beginning no later than Jan. 22, 2017.
The new Form I-9 should be used to verify identity and employment authorization for all new hires and re-verifications of expired documents. It is available in a fillable PDF here and in paper form here.
The new form is designed to be easier to use, as well as to reduce common errors. Changes include validations on certain fields to ensure that the correct information has been entered, the ability to enter multiple preparers and translators, and the inclusion of a space dedicated to additional information. Additionally, the online version now includes drop-down lists and calendars where dates are required, on-screen instructions for each individual field, and easy access to the full I-9 instructions. A QR code is generated when the employer prints the completed form.
Immigrants no longer need to provide both their Form 1-94 number and foreign passport information. The new edition of the Form I-9 requires immigrants to provide any one of the following three numbers: alien registration number, Form I-94 number or foreign passport number.
The instructions have been separated from the Form I-9 itself. Employers must provide employees with a copy of these instructions. The instructions for the Form I-9 can be found here.
Employers should be advised that if they opt for the online form, they will still need to print the form, obtain written signatures, retain a physical copy of each employee’s Form I-9, and re-verify as necessary. Employers who store and retain Form I-9s electronically should still print the completed form, obtain written signatures, and then scan the signed Form I-9 into their electronic storage system. Simply filling out the online Form I-9 is not sufficient to satisfy the employer’s obligation to store and retain these records.