U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented several long-awaited changes to the Form I-9 on March 8, 2013. Employers are urged to begin using the newly revised form immediately, and are required to do so by May 7, 2013. Changes to the form include additional data fields, changes to the instructions, and revisions to the layout. More specifically:
The new form contains several new data fields in Section 1. Fields have been added for the employee's e-mail address and telephone number. Providing this information is optional, however. The Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") may use this information to contact the employee if the agency discovers a potential mismatch between the information provided by the employee and the information in DHS or Social Security Administration records. The employee may write "N/A" in those fields should he or she choose not to provide this information.
The new form also provides a data field for employees to record their foreign passport number and country of issuance if the employee obtained his or her admission number from U.S. Customs and Border Protection in connection with their arrival in the United States.
The instructions that accompany Form I-9 are now much longer - numbering six pages - and far more detailed than the previous version. The revised instructions are particularly detailed with respect to the employer's obligations when completing Sections 2 and 3 of the form.
Form I-9 has been reformatted and expanded to two pages, with Section 1 appearing on the first page and Sections 2 and 3 appearing on the second page.
Overview of the I-9 Process
The Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) process was enacted by Congress in 1986 to ensure the identity and employment authorization of workers in the United States. All employers, agricultural recruiters, and referrers for a fee are required to complete a Form I-9 for each person they hire, at the time of hiring. The I-9 process consists of a form for the employee to complete and a list of acceptable documentation that shows identity and/or eligibility to be legally employed in the United States.
Usage of the New Form
Beginning May 7, 2013, all previous editions of the form will be outdated. Employers must start using the new form, which contains a revision date of March 8, 2013 in the lower left hand corner of the form. Prior versions of the form will not be accepted after May 7, 2013. The new form may be obtained immediately from USCIS at www.uscis.gov.
In addition to using the new form, we recommend that all employers undertake periodic internal audits of their Form I-9s and their I-9 procedures.
For additional information on conducting an internal audit or any other immigration or employment law compliance advice, please contact:
Larissa C. Dean