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USCIS Issues New Form I-9 for Immediate Use

March 12, 2013

On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new Form I-9. Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 with a revision date of “03/08/13 N” immediately. A copy of the new Form I-9 with instructions is available at www.uscis.gov under “Forms.” Once “Forms” has been selected, scroll down and click on Form I-9.

USCIS revised Form I-9 in an attempt to minimize errors in completing the form by adding data fields, improving the instructions and revising the layout. USCIS advises that employers should begin using the new form immediately, however, USCIS has provided a 60-day grace period to allow employers to make necessary updates to their business processes. Prior versions of Form I-9 dated 02/02/09 and 08/07/09 may be used until May 7, 2013. Beginning May 7, 2013, employers must use the new Form I-9.

After May 7, 2013, employers who fail to use the new Form I-9 may be subject to penalties under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as enforced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Employers must complete Form I-9 to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of each new employee hired to work in the U.S. after November 6, 1986. Employers are required to maintain a Form I-9 for the duration of an individual’s employment and for the required retention period after termination of employment. The required retention period is either three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of termination, whichever is later. Upon request by ICE, the Department of Justice or the Department of Labor, employers must make their Form I-9s available for inspection.  If an employer fails to complete and retain Form I-9s properly, the employer may be subject to civil money penalties and, in some cases, criminal penalties.

Note: Employers do not need 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 applies. Unnecessary verification may violate the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

USCIS also issued a new version of the M-274, Handbook for Employers that includes helpful information on I-9 compliance. The new Handbook is available on the USCIS website under "I-9 Central."

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