Employers Must Use New I-9 Forms By May 7, 2013

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On March 8, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 form). Employers were given until May 7, 2013 to begin using the new I-9 form to verify the identification and employment authorization of each newly hired employee. Employers were required to use the new I-9 form as of March 8, 2013 for rehires or the re-verification of existing employees, if necessary. Employers do not have to complete the new I-9 form for current employees who have properly completed I-9 forms on file, unless re-verification is needed.

The new form is two pages as opposed to the old form’s one page. The new form has optional fields for the employee’s phone number and e-mail address. The instructions (but not the form itself) note that employees may write “N/A” if they choose not to provide this information. The new form also includes a new data field requiring an employee’s foreign passport information, if applicable.

Employers who fail to use the new form or incorrectly complete the new forms face substantial penalties of up to $1,100 per form. Employers should carefully review the instructions before completing the new I-9 form and ensure that employees follow the instructions when completing the employee section. USCIS has published an updated handbook for employers, the M-274, to provide further guidance for completing I-9 forms. The new I-9 form is available at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.