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Earlier this year, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new version of Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification with an edition date of October 21, 2019. This development comes in the wake of a previous USCIS instruction directing employers to continue using the Form I-9 version with an expiration date of August 31, 2019 until a revised version was released.

While the effective date of this new version of Form I-9 is January 31, 2020, employers have until April 30, 2020 to continue using the prior version (Rev. 07/17/2017 N).  A copy of the revised form can be found here, along with instructions. USCIS has allowed employers this additional time to make necessary updates and adjust their business processes.

Background of Form I-9

Employers are required to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual (citizens and noncitizens alike) hired for employment in the United States on Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. These forms must be maintained for as long as the employee works for the employer and after termination of employment (for either one year after termination or three years after the date of hire, whichever is later). Failure to properly complete and retain Forms I-9 may subject an employer to civil money penalties, and in some cases criminal penalties. Such Form I-9 issues are usually uncovered following a Department of Homeland Security worksite raid, audit, or even a random inspection.

What has changed on Form I-9?

  • Form FS-240 – Consular Report of Birth Abroad has been added to List C. Employers who will be submitting their Form I-9 online will now be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Section 2 and 3. Form FS-240 can also be used by E-Verify users while creating a case for an employee who has used this document for Form I-9.
  • Eswanti and North Macedonia have been added to the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the foreign passport issuing authority field in Section 2 (these changes are only visible on the fillable Form I-9 on a computer)
  • All certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State have been combined into No. 2 in List C (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240).
  • All the documents in List C other than “Social Security Card” have been renumbered. For instance, the Employment Authorization Document that is issued by the Department of Homeland Security has been changed from List C, No. 8 to List C, No. 7.
  • Clarifications have been made as to who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has updated its privacy notice.
  • A revised Spanish version of Form I-9 is available for use in Puerto Rico only.

Best Practices

USCIS urges employers to begin using this new Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/2019) as of January 31, 2020 to remain in compliance with their employment eligibility verification responsibilities. After April 30, 2020 the previous Form I-9 (Rev. 07/17/2017) will be considered obsolete and no longer valid for use. USCIS has indicated in its January 31, 2020 Notice that employers do not need to complete the new Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/2019) for current employees who already have a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless reverification applies.