Federal Government Releases New I-9 Form

On March 8, 2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) released a new Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification.  This new form is mandatory effective May 7, 2013.  Until May 7, employers may continue to use previously valid I-9 Forms, including revisions dated 08/07/09 and 02/02/09, but after May 7, all employers must use the new form to verify employment eligibility for new hires.  Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 with revision date 03/08/13 immediately for all new hires, as well as for rehired employees or the re-verification of existing employees.  Note that the revision date is on the lower left of the new form and reads “03/08/13 N.”

Here are some of the changes to the I-9:

  • The new Form I-9 is two pages; previous versions were only one page.
  • The new Form I-9 contains additional data fields for information related to alien work authorization.  For example, there is now a place to write in the employee’s foreign passport information and country of origin, if that applies to the employee.  There is also a place for the employee’s telephone number and email address, although including that information is optional for the employee.
  • The instructions that accompany the new Form I-9 are longer than previously (six instead of two pages) and contain additional information.  For example, the new instructions include sections on employment of minors and disabled workers, as well as how to determine whether the employee has presented an acceptable receipt if the employee is not able to produce required documents.
  • The List of Acceptable Documents on the new Form I-9 also now clarifies when it is and is not permissible to use a social security card for verifying employment authorization.

The new Form I-9 is available through the USCIS at  http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf

Remember that employers are required to keep employees’ I-9 Forms for as long as the individual works for the employer and for the required retention period after the termination of the individual’s employment (either 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date employment ended, whichever is later).  Employers are prohibited from keeping I-9 Forms in the employee’s personnel file and must maintain a separate file for all I-9 Forms.  In addition, if requested, an employer must provide employee I-9 Forms to officers of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, and/or the Department of Labor.  Failure of an employer to ensure proper completion and retention of I-9 Forms for all of its employees may result in fines and, in some cases, criminal penalties.

If you have any questions about the new Form I-9, please contact any one of the attorneys at Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.