New Form I-9 and Acceptable Documents Becomes Mandatory on February 2, 2009

January 2009Alerts Immigration Practice Alert

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On December 17, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an Interim Final Rule in the Federal Register amending current regulations regarding the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, known as Form I-9. All U.S. employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each employee hired in order to verify that the individual is authorized for employment in the United States under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).

The Interim Final Rule is meant to improve the security of the I-9 process by making it easier for employers to verify acceptable documents and identify fraudulent documents. It narrows the list of acceptable identity documents and further specifies that no expired documents are acceptable.

Key points of the new rule:

  1. Requires that all documents presented during the verification process be unexpired
  2. Removes three documents from List A (USCIS no longer issues these cards, and any that had been issued have now expired):
    1. Form I-688,Temporary Resident Card
    2. Form I-688A, Employment Authorization Card
    3. Form I-688B, Employment Authorization Card
  3. Adds two documents to List A:
    1. Foreign passports containing specially marked machine-readable visas (which include a preprinted temporary I-551 notation)
    2. Valid passports for certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)
  4. Makes several technical changes to the Form I-9 itself

The Interim Final Rule is scheduled to go into effect on February 2, 2009, at which time the new Form I-9 will be mandatory and all previous versions (in English or Spanish) will no longer be valid. Employers will be required to use the new version of the Form I-9 for all new hires and for re-verifying any employees with expiring employment authorization as of February 2, 2009. The revised Form I-9 and List of Acceptable Documents will be available as soon as effective on the USCIS website (http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf ).