Introduction: New Version of the Form I-9
On November 14, 2016, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it released the new edition of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification [link]. The new edition of the Form I-9 is dated 11/14/16. Starting on January 22, 2017, all employers will be required to use the new edition of the Form I-9 dated 11/14/16. However, until that date, employers may continue to use the version of the Form I-9 dated 03/08/13.
The Form I-9 is used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of an individual hired for employment in the United States. The Form I-9 must be completed for both citizens and noncitizens. Employers must retain the Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.
Changes on the New Version of the Form I-9
The USCIS news release announces the following changes in the new edition of the Form I-9:
- Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used”;
- Streamlines certification for foreign nationals;
- Adds prompts to ensure that information is entered correctly;
- Adds ability to enter multiple preparers and translators;
- Adds a dedicated area for including additional information; and
- Adds a supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
The USCIS touts the new edition of the Form I-9 as being easier to complete on the computer. The USCIS cites the following changes to this effect:
- Drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates;
- On-screen instructions for each field;
- Easy access to the full instructions; and
- An option to clear the form and starts over.
Furthermore, when the employer prints the completed Form I-9, a quick response (QR) code will be automatically generated. The USCIS website states that this QR code will be read by most QR readers.
Conclusion: New Version of the Form I-9
The new version of the Form I-9 features small changes that should make the form more user-friendly, especially for those completing the form electronically. Under the current immigration laws, employment verification is an important responsibility for employers. If an employer has questions about the Form I-9 or E-Verify (where applicable) process, or if an alien seeking employment in the United States has questions about his or her employment authorization, it may be advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
We have uploaded the new Form I-9 instructions for your convenience [PDF version]. Although the USCIS website offers a Spanish-language version of the Form I-9, it is important to remember that this version of the Form I-9 may only be used by employers in Puerto Rico. All other employers must use the English-language version of the Form I-9.