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USCIS Publishes Revised Form I-9

November 17, 2016

On November 14, 2016, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

What is Form I-9 and who uses it?

Employers must complete Form I-9 for every individual they hire for employment in the United States after November 6, 1986 at the time of hire in order to verify the individual’s identity and employment authorization.

What has changed on Form I-9?

The instructions have been separated from the Form I-9 itself and expanded to include specific instructions for each field. Employers will notice the following changes to the form:

Section 1: Employees can indicate the use of multiple preparers and translators – employees who do not use a preparer or translator must indicate this by checking a box; employees who do not enter information in optional or not applicable fields must enter N/A; employees must provide “other last names used” instead of “other names used;” employees who indicate they are “aliens authorized to work” can now provide either an A number/USCIS number, a Form I-94 number or foreign passport information.

Section 2: USCIS has added a new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of Section 2 where employers must write a number corresponding with the citizenship/immigration status that the employee selects in Section 1 – for example, if an employee provides that he is a U.S. citizen in Section 1, the employer must write the number 1 in this field in Section 2; employers must enter N/A if a document presented does not contain a document number or expiration date; employers must note additional information, such as OPT STEM extensions and H-1B portability, in a new designated area rather than in the form’s margins.

Section 3: Employers completing Section 3 on a new page must complete the name fields in the employee information area at the top of Section 2 and leave the Citizenship/Immigration Status field blank; if an employee has changed his or her name since originally completing Section 1, the employer should only enter the part of the name that has changed in Section 3 and enter N/A in all other fields pertaining to the name.

Employers who opt to complete Form I-9 on the USCIS website will notice that USCIS has adopted a “Smart I-9” designed to alert employers when they make common mistakes. If the Form I-9 is completed on the USCIS website, it is still necessary to print, sign and retain the form in hard copy per the retention requirements.

When will these changes take effect?

The new Form I-9 may be used immediately for all new hires and reverifications. As of January 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version of Form I-9, dated November 14, 2016, for all new hires and reverifications. The previous Form I-9, dated March 8, 2013, may continue to be used until January 21, 2017.

Where can I find further information?

The new Form I-9 and its instructions are available here. If you have questions regarding the information in this alert, please contact one of our Business Immigration attorneys.