New I-9 Form Released for Immediate UseThe federal immigration service (“USCIS”) recently released a new version of the I-9 Form that is used to verify the eligibility of new hires to work in the United States. Employers should begin using the new I-9 Form immediately and must begin using this form no later than May 8, 2013. The new I-9 Form with instructions is available online at the following website: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.
Employers do not need to complete a new I-9 Form for current employees whose eligibility was verified using the old I-9 Form, except that foreign employees temporarily authorized to work in the U.S. will need to be re-verified using the new Form when their employment eligibility expires.
The new version makes several changes to the old I-9 Form. The most noticeable difference is that the new I-9 Form is 2 pages, whereas the old Form had only one page. For aliens authorized to work in the U.S., the new Form requires information about the alien’s foreign passport. The new Form also provides fields where an employee’s e-mail address and telephone number may be added, but these fields are optional.
There are also minor differences in the new Form’s “Lists of Acceptable Documents” page. The types of documents that may be used to verify employment eligibility have not changed, but the description of certain documents in “List A” and “List C” have been revised for the sake of clarity.
The new Form’s instructions have changed to provide employers more detailed guidance and to resolve certain issues that arose when the using the old version. Employers should read these instructions as soon as possible to ensure that new I-9s are completed properly and should consult legal counsel if they have any questions.
Compliance is critical. Employers who fail to verify employment eligibility properly using the new Form beginning May 8, 2013 will be subject to penalties up to $1,100 per employee and could also be subject to criminal sanctions in some cases.