On Jan. 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new version of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form, along with updated instructions. Despite its date of 10/21/19, the form will not become mandatory until May 1 of this year. While employers may start using the new version immediately, they can also use the previous edition dated 07/17/2017 until April 30.
Remind me — when do you use the I-9?
Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers are required to complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire, including citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or their authorized representatives) must complete a portion of the form. Employers are required to retain the completed forms for a designated period of time after employees stop working for them. This ensures employers have the paper trail they need, should they be audited.
What’s changed with the new I-9?
The USCIS revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to include two new countries: Eswatini and North Macedonia. This change is only included on the electronic version of the form. The new version of the paper form has no changes to the form itself. However, both the new electronic and paper forms have modified instructions that include the following changes:
- Clarification on who can act as an authorized representative of an employer. An authorized representative may be any person an employer designates to complete and sign Form I-9 on its behalf. However, the employer remains liable for any violations committed by the designated person.
- Clarifications pertaining to acceptable documents. Writing “N/A” in the identity document columns is no longer necessary. When entering document information in the List A, B or C columns, you do not need to enter "N/A" in the columns which are not being used.
- Clarification that the form’s List C documents establishing employment authorization does not include a worker’s Employment Authorization Document (EAC) containing a photograph. The List C documents include items like a Social Security card and birth certificate, while the EAD (Form I-766) that contains a photograph providing temporary employment authorization to work in the United States is a List A document.
- Updated USCIS website addresses.
- An updated process for requesting the paper Form I-9.
- Updated Department of Homeland Security Privacy Notice.