New I-9 Form Released

November 16, 2016Alerts Immigration Alert

On Monday, November 14, 2016, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new revised version of Form I-9. The previous editions of the form (with “03/08/13” in the lower left corner) will remain valid until January 21, 2017. After this date, only the new form (with “11/14/16” in the lower left corner) is acceptable. Both the English version of the form and the Spanish (available for use only in Puerto Rico) have been revised.

All U.S. employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for every 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). IRCA prohibits employers from hiring people, including U.S. citizens, for employment in the United States without verifying their identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.

According to USCIS, the changes to Form I-9 were designed to reduce errors and ease form completion using a computer, including drop-down lists, popup calendars for entering dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions and an option to clear the form and start over. When an employer prints a completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated that can be read by most QR readers.

Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.

Other changes include:

  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • A dedicated area for including additional information (rather than adding it in the margins).
  • The preparer/translator information is now on a separate/supplemental page.

The instructions have also been separated from the form, in line with other USCIS forms, and now include specific instructions for completing each field.

Note that the new form does not require that it be completed on a computer; it only makes it easier if employers choose to do so. For those who complete the form manually, there are little to no changes, other than some visual and formatting differences from the prior edition.

As a best practice, employers should begin using the new edition of the form immediately for all new hires and for reverification of current employees, although the previous editions of the form will remain valid until January 21, 2017. Employers should not execute new forms for existing employees or prepare new forms to replace existing forms. Employers should use the new version of the form to reverify existing employees.  

The new Form I-9 and List of Acceptable Documents, in English and in Spanish; the separate Instructions for Form I-9; and Form I-9 Supplement, Section 1, Preparer and Translator are available on the USCIS website. The Spanish version of the form may only be executed by employers in Puerto Rico. Employers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories may use the Spanish version of the form only as a translation guide and must complete the English version of the form.

IRCA compliance can be a complicated process, and although employers can select from a variety of service providers to meet their I-9 training needs, legal professionals with experience with immigration, employment and labor law are best equipped to handle IRCA compliance issues.  

For questions or more information about this alert, please contact Alka Bahal at 973.994.7800 or [email protected] or any member of the firm’s Immigration Practice