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12.01.2016 U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Releases New Form I-9 Document By: D. Earl Baggett & Reba Mendoza

On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a new version of the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification (“Form I-9”). Employers may continue to use the current Form I-9, which bears the revision date of “03/08/13” on the bottom left-hand corner of the document, through January 21, 2017. Thereafter, employers must use the new Form I-9.

Generally, employers are required to verify the identity and work authorization of all hired employee by completing the Form I-9. Employers who fail to correctly complete Form I-9 documents for their employees in accordance with immigration laws and regulations can face significant fines and even criminal sanctions (where there is a pattern or practice of violations).

The new Form I-9 is intended to streamline the current Form I-9 document and eliminate points of confusion in the document. For example, the new Form I-9 simplifies Section 1 for immigrants authorized to work in the United States by eliminating the requirement that such individuals provide both a Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1. The new form also has a dedicated area for employers to enter additional information that they currently are required to include in the margins of the form, such as information on an employee’s Temporary Protected Status and Optional Practical Training extensions.

Moreover, when completing the Form I-9 electronically, USCIS has included validations in certain fields to ensure that information is entered correctly. For example, numerical fields will not accept text, and text fields will not accept numerical values. Also, date fields will require that dates be entered in the “mm/dd/yyyy” format, and Social Security numbers and telephone numbers will be formatted automatically. The form also includes drop-down lists for certain fields and embedded instructions for completing each field.

Employers can locate additional information on the changes to the Form I-9 document and the Form I-9 document, itself, online at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central. In light of the consequences associated with Form I-9 violations, it’s important that employers become familiar with this new document before it’s mandatory.  

For more information about Form I-9 documents, please contact the authors or any member of the Williams Mullen Labor & Employment Team.