USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register this morning announcing the long-awaited new Form I-9.  Employers can begin using the I-9 immediately (or as soon as USCIS posts it to their website), but must implement the new Form I-9 by May 7, 2013 at the latest.  During the 60-day grace period, employers may continue to use the current versions of the Form I-9 (2/2/09 and 8/7/09 versions).

As discussed in our previous blog, the new Form I-9 is expected to have a much different format including two pages, with a more organized, intuitive layout separating the information employees must provide from the information employers must complete.  The new Form I-9 also incorporates additional data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable), telephone numbers and email addresses.  In addition, the new Form I-9 carries with it six full pages of instructions.

Although the documents acceptable for Form I-9 purposes remain the same, the new Form I-9 is expected to revise the format of the Lists of Acceptable Documents (page 9 of the proposed Form) to clarify the requirements for certain documents.  For example, under List C, the new Form will specify the restrictions that may appear on a social security card that would render it unacceptable for List C purposes. 

Rather than immediately circulate the new Form I-9 to its HR team and require its use, we recommend that employers use the issuance of the new Form I-9 as an opportunity to conduct comprehensive Form I-9 training (if it has not already been done within the last year), or to provide refresher training (if comprehensive training has been done within the last year), to those responsible for completing the Form I-9.  It is critical that employers understand the nuances that go along with the Form I-9 process and the changes to that process that the new Form I-9 requires.