Employers will be required to use a new version of the I-9 Form beginning January 22, 2017.
The purpose of Form I-9 is to help employers verify the identity and employment authorization of each worker they hire for employment in the United States. Under federal law, all U.S. employers are required to complete the form for every new employee they hire.
The updated form, published by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on November 14, 2016, replaces the one it issued in 2013. Employers will be allowed to continue using the 2013 form until January 21, 2017, but must begin using the updated form exclusively beginning January 22, 2017. (The new form expires August 31, 2019.)
What’s new in the new I-9?
Below are the changes included in the new version of the form, according to the USCIS:
- Changes to the language asking about individuals’ other names. (The field now asks for the individual’s “other last names used” instead of “other names used.”)
- Updates that streamline the certification process for certain foreign nationals.
- Added prompts to ensure the individual completing the form is including the correct information.
- The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
- A dedicated field for individuals to include additional information, which eliminates the need for individuals to write any additional information in the margins of the form.
- A supplemental page for preparers and translators.
- Additional features that make it easier for individuals to complete the electronic version of the form, such as drop-down menus, on-screen instructions for each field, and an option to clear the entire form and start over.
In addition, the USCIS separated the instructions for completing the form from the form itself, allowing them to include more detailed information on how to complete each field in the form.
The new Form I-9 and its accompanying instruction sheet are available for download on the USCIS website: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
Employer basics for completing Form I-9:
When completing Form I-9, employers must:
- Physically examine each original document the employee presents to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the person presenting it. The person who examines the documents must be the same person who signs Section 2 of the Form I-9. Both the examiner of documents and the employee must be physically present during the examination.
- Record the verification document title from List A or record one verification document from List B and one from List C.
- Record the name of the issuer of the document (example: Social Security Administration).
- Record the document identification number and the expiration date (if applicable).
- Record the employee’s employment start date.
- Sign and date under the certification section and also provide the signer’s job title, the name of the business and its address.
- Return the employee’s documentation. Employers may, but are not required to, photocopy the document(s) presented. If photocopies are made, they should be made for all new hires or re-verifications. The photocopies should be retained with the Form I-9.
Simplify the I-9 process by using an online onboarding system.
Keeping up with paper forms can be a real hassle, for both employers and employees. G&A Partners’ online employee onboarding system streamlines new hire procedures and eliminates the need for a paper-based process by providing new workers and their managers online access to all the necessary employment forms, including the I-9.
This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.