USCIS Revises Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9

November 2007Alerts Immigration Practice Area Alert

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On November 7, 2007,U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) and updated the Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 (M-274). 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 revision is intended to achieve full compliance with the document reduction requirements of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), which reduced the number of documents employers may accept from newly hired employees during the employment eligibility verification process. In 1997, the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published an interim final rule eliminating some of the documents IIRIRA slated for removal, but the Form had not been updated to reflect the revised List of Acceptable Documents until now.

Key Points:

  1. Employers are encouraged, but not yet required, to start using the new Form immediately. Once the notice is published in the Federal Register, the new Form I-9 will be mandatory, and all previous versions (in English or Spanish) will no longer be valid.
  2. Employees are no longer required to provide a Social Security number in Section 1 (Employee Information and Verification), except for employees hired by employers participating in the USCIS Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification Program (E-Verify).
  3. Employers should only use the new Form for new employees or if completing the reverification process for an existing employee. Employers do not need to complete new forms for existing employees for whom an I-9 already has been completed.
  4. The Form is available in English and Spanish, however, ONLY employers in Puerto Rico may have employees complete the Spanish version. Employers in the 50 states and other U.S territories may use the Spanish version as a translation guide for Spanish-speaking employees, but must complete the English version for the employer’s records. Employees may also use or ask for a translator/preparer to assist them in completing the form.

Changes to Document List A

Five documents removed

  1. Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-570)
  2. Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
  3. Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151)
  4. Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327)
  5. Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571)

One document added

  1. Employment Authorization Document (Form I- 766) [the most recent version]

There are no changes to Lists B or C. A copy of the new Form I-9 can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf and the new Handbook can be found at http://www.uscis.gov/files/nativedocuments/m-274.pdf.

The new Handbook contains updated examples of completed I-9s and updated, color copies of various acceptable documents.

Fox Rothschild will provide an update when the Rule becomes final. For more information regarding the issues addressed in this Alert, please contact the author at 973.994.7800 or [email protected] or another member of the Fox Rothschild Immigration Practice.