On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of the Form I-9. Employers will be required to use the new version starting September 18, 2017, and using earlier versions of the form will not be acceptable after that date.
The Form I-9 is a document that employers must complete to verify the identity and employment authorization of every new hire (both citizens and noncitizens) hired after November 6, 1986, to work in the United States. Employers are liable for all errors on the form (even errors made by the employee in completing Section 1), and employers must retain I-9s for inspection for a certain period of time after an employee leaves the company (either one year after the date of termination or three years after the hire date, whichever date is later).
The revisions to Form I-9 were included as part of a proposed rule set to be implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), known as the International Entrepreneur Rule. Although implementation of the rule was delayed pending guidance from the Trump administration, revisions to the Form I-9 moved along to finalization.
Employers may continue to complete the I-9 entirely on paper or have Sections 1 and 2 completed on a computer, or any combination thereof. Regulations pertaining to completion or retention of electronic I-9s remain in place, and employers working with outside vendors on electronic I-9 completion or storage systems should work quickly to ensure that their systems are compliant with this new form by September 18.
Revisions to Form I-9 Instructions
The Form I-9 was most recently updated in November of 2016 (and must have been used by all employers as of January 22), and so the changes on this version of the form are not as sweeping. The form itself remains unchanged – only the instructions and List of Acceptable Documents have been updated. Employers must still take care to use the form with the 7/17/2017 revision date as of September 18, though.
The sole change to the Form I-9 Instructions involves changing the name of the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practice to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
With respect to changes on the List of Acceptable Documents for Form I-9, USCIS:
- Added Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad to List C. This is available from the drop-down menu on the “fillable” version of the Form I-9 in List C, and this form will be available when creating a case in E-Verify for an employee who presents this document.
- Combined all certifications of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) into one selection on List C.
- Renumbered all List C documents, except the Social Security card.
Note that USCIS revised the M-274 Handbook for Employers accordingly but only on the online version, not on the printable .pdf that is available on I-9 Central. Please view the updated electronic M-274 here.
Next Steps for Employers
Although the changes to the Form I-9 and related documents are not as sweeping as we saw in November, employers need to be sure to begin using the new form with the 7/17/2017 revision date as of September 18 and to ensure that HR teams and others responsible for completing Section 2 of Form I-9 are aware of those small changes to ensure no inadvertent discrimination or noncompliance in completing I-9s for employees.