U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) is available for use. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires all U.S. employers to verify the employment eligibility and identity of all employees hired to work in the U.S. after November 6, 1986 by completing a Form I-9. Employers are required to retain I-9s for each employee for three years after the employee’s date of hire, or one year after the date that employment is terminated, whichever is later. Employers are permitted to retain the I-9 in paper, microfilm, microfiche or electronic format. In order to properly complete Form I-9, employees must provide – and employers must personally inspect – original documents that attest to the employee’s identity and his or her authorization to work in the U.S.
Q: What are the key revisions to the latest Form I-9?
- Adding data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable) and e-mail address and telephone number (which are optional) in Section 1. In the field below the Section 2 introduction, employers are now required to enter the last name, first name and middle initial, if any, that the employee entered in Section 1. Doing so will help to identify the pages of the form should they get separated.
- Improving the form’s instructions. For example, the instructions clarify that employers or their authorized representative must complete Section 2 within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment. If an employee begins employment on Monday, for example, the employer must complete Section 2 by Thursday of that week (not Wednesday).
- Revising the layout of the form, expanding the form from one to two pages (not including the form instructions and the List of Acceptable Documents).
Q: Where can I get the new Form I-9?
The new Form I-9 can be found on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. The new Form I-9 has a revision date of March 8, 2013 and expires March 31, 2016.
Q: Must I begin to use the new Form I-9 immediately?
Yes. However, older forms with revision dates of February 2, 2009 and August 7, 2009 will be accepted until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, only the March 8, 2013 version will be accepted. The revision date is on the lower left corner of the form. Employers may incur fines and penalties for failing to use the new Form I-9 after May 7, 2013. Employers should also note that a new Form I-9 does not need to be completed for current employees if a properly completed Form I-9 is already on file.
We continue to monitor the status of employment eligibility verification requirements and will update you with the latest developments. In the meantime, please feel free to contact any of our immigration attorneys with questions you might have regarding the new Form I-9 or about the I-9 process in general.