A New I-9 Form is Available-Start Using it Now

There is a new Form I-9 that employers should begin using right away. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the release of its newly updated Employment Eligibility Verification form, Form I-9. All employers are required to use Form I-9 at the time of hire to verify the identity and employment eligibility of their employees.

The updated version of Form I-9 became available for use on March 8, 2013. Due to the inconvenience the update could cause some employers, employers have a 60-day grace period during which the previous version of Form I-9 can still be used without incurring penalties. After May 7, 2013, the old form will no longer be valid. Although the grace period provides time for employers to learn about the new form and become accustomed to its provisions, to avoid errors employers should not wait until the end of the grace period to begin using the new Form I-9.

The revisions to Form I-9 include formatting changes as well as the inclusion of additional data fields. These changes are intended to minimize errors in form completion (as previously discussed on our blog, errors on an I-9 can have serious repercussions for employers). The changes include improving the instructions on the form and revising the layout by expanding the form to two pages. Data fields for the employee’s foreign passport information, telephone number, and email address have all been added to the new Form I-9. Additionally, the new revision date (03/08/2013) is located in the bottom right hand corner of the form so that employers can verify use of the correct version.

It is not necessary for employers to complete the new Form I-9 for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless re-verification is required. The new form should be used for any new employee starting employment after March 8.

Employers may obtain the new Form I-9, and the updated Handbook for Employers (Form M-274), which provides guidance for completing the Form I-9, on the USCIS website. Please contact Melissa Jones if you have any questions about the new Form I-9 or its implementation.