U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on July 17, 2017. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization for all individuals, citizens and noncitizens, hired for employment in the United States. The form requires an employee to attest to his or her employment authorization and present the employer with acceptable documents demonstrating identity and employment authorization. The form requires that the employer examine the document(s) and attest that they reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the employee.
While employers may begin using the new Form I-9 immediately, its use will be mandatory beginning September 18, 2017. The new Form I-9 with revision date 7/17/17 N replaces the prior version of Form I-9 with revision date of 11/14/16 N. The new Form I-9 is available on the USCIS I-9 website. USCIS also published a new Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274, rev. 7/14/2017), which is also available online.
The revisions to Form I-9 are minor; however, failure to comply by the September 18 deadline may result in fines. The changes are as follows:
- In the instructions, USCIS changed the name of the “Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices” by updating it to its new name, “Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.” In addition, USCIS removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment” in the instruction that requires the employee to complete and sign Section 1 of the form on the first day of employment. USCIS did not specify why this language was removed, but the form’s language now more closely tracks the language of the regulations which indicate that Section 1 must be completed “at the time of hire,” without referring to the time of day. To be in technical compliance, employers should now ensure that Section 1 is completed at the time the employee begins working, rather than by the end of his or her first day of employment.
- USCIS made the following changes to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:
- Added the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240) to List C. Employers completing Form I-9 on a computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus, and the document is acceptable for E-Verify.
- Combined all the certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) into selection C#2 in List C.
- Renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security card. For example, the employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security on List C has changed from List C #8 to List C #7.
The foregoing changes are included in the revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274). The rules with respect to storing and retaining Form I-9 have not changed.
By: Camiel Becker and Clare Bienvenu