U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently released a revised version of Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification document. Since November 1986, all U.S. employers have been required to complete and retain the I-9 for all new employees. Employers may continue using the I-9 form dated March 8, 2013 until January 22, 2017, when the use of the revised form becomes mandatory.
Changes to the Form I-9
The new form is designed to address “frequent points of confusion that arise for both employees and employers”. The proposed changes specifically aim to help employers reduce technical errors for which they may be fined, and include:
- Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly. The form will validate the correct number of digits for a Social Security number or an expiration date on an identity document, for example.
- Drop-down lists and calendars.
- Embedded instructions for completing each field.
- Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over.
- Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators. If the employee does not use a preparer or translator to assist in completing section 1, he or she must indicate so on a new check box labeled, “I did not use a preparer or translator.”
- The requirement that workers provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used. This is to avoid possible discrimination issues and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names, Fay said.
- The removal of the requirement that immigrants authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1.
- A new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of section 2.
- A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form, such as Temporary Protected Status and Optional Practical Training extensions.
- A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed that can be used to streamline enforcement audits.
- Separate instructions from the form. Employers are still required to present the instructions to the employee completing the form, however.
It’s important to remember that this new smart I-9 form is not an electronic I-9 as defined in the regulations. Employers filling out the new form I-9 using Adobe Reader will still need to print the form, obtain handwritten signatures, store in a safe place, monitor re-verifications and updates with a calendaring system, and retype information into E-Verify as required.