Publication

28 November 2016

New Form I-9 Released by USCIS

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, employers must verify the employment eligibility of new employees by reviewing acceptable documents provided by the employee to establish the employee’s identity and work authorization, and then completing an employment eligibility verification form commonly known as Form I-9.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service recently released a new version of the Form I-9.  Employers are permitted to continue using the current Form I-9 (revision date March 3, 2013) through January 21, 2017.  However, on January 22, 2017, all employers must use the new Form I-9 for all new hires and when reverifying existing employees who require reverification of their work authorization.  The new Form I-9 is available at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

While the new version of the Form I-9 does not change any substantive obligations for employers, several changes have been made to the form to make easier to fill out, such as:

  • When completing the form electronically in PDF the “Smart” features prevent completion of the form if mandatory fields are left blank. The form highlights the missing information and it cannot be saved until all required fields are completed.
  • Most fields in the form have an associated “?” icon, which provides a summary of instructions for completing that field.
  • Section 1: The “Other Names Used” field has been changed to “Other Last Names Used.”
  • Preparers and translators must certify their assistance and there is a supplement page that allows for multiple assistants or preparers.
  • Section 2: Employer must list the employee’s citizenship or immigration status.
  • Section 2: A dedicated box has been added for additional information, explanatory notes, and updates, rather than writing them in the margins.

While the presidential election has brought many more questions than answers about what immigration policy will prevail in Washington and how it might be implemented and enforced, employers should continue to ensure compliance with their I-9 obligations.  I-9 violations can result in significant fines and penalties.  If you have any questions about the new Form I-9 and compliance, please contact a member of Miller Johnson’s immigration group.