The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently redesigned the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form to increase its practicality and accessibility. What is the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form? The I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, aka “I-9 Form,” is used to “verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States,” according to the USCIS. The USCIS clarifies that, “all U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for every individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form.”
Starting on November 1, 2023, employers are required to use this new I-9 form. The new form was designed to fit on one page and to be more easily accessible by phone or tablet. Some questions users may be asking, and which will be addressed below, are:
- What changes were made to the I-9 and how does this affect me as an employer?
- Do I need to refile an I-9 form because it was completed on the old form version?
Changes to the Revised I-9 Form
The updates that were made to the I-9 form and its accompanying instructions were intended to streamline the materials and reduce the burden placed on employers and employees that came from dealing with bulky documentation. The new I-9 form reflects the following important changes:
- Sections 1 and 2 were reduced to one page, without removing any fields.
- The “Preparer and/or Translator Certification” portion is now a separate Supplement A on page 3 and can be attached to the I-9 form if needed.
- “Reverification and Rehire” section is now a separate Supplement B on page 4 and can be attached to the I-9 form if needed.
- The document can now be filled out on tablets and mobile devices.
- The new I-9 form includes a checkbox in Section 2 (under “Additional Information”) for eligible employers enrolled in E-Verify to indicate they examined Form I-9 documents remotely
- The “Lists of Acceptable Documents” now include acceptable receipt notices and more information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documents (EADs)
- The instructions have been reduced to 8 pages.
Notes for Employers
The most important take away is that, starting on November 1, 2023, you as an employer are required to use the new version of the I-9 form. This form can be found and downloaded on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/i-9. If you fail to start using this version of the form, you may be subject to penalties. Current employees who already have a properly completed I-9 on file, regardless of whether it is the old version of the form, do not need to complete the new I-9. *One exception is if this current employee needs to complete reverification after October 31, 2023.
You should exercise caution if you plan on updating all of your employees' forms to the new I-9 at one time. In requesting that your employee complete the new I-9 form, you are asking them to reverify their employment eligibility. Unnecessary verification of employment eligibility may violate the anti-discrimination requirements of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
When should you reverify your employees' work eligibility? Reverification is not required for:
- U.S. Citizens or noncitizen nationals,
- Permanent residents presenting a green card, or
- Individuals holding documents, such as a U.S. passport, that have expired.
Reverification is required when the employee’s employment authorization or temporary work authorization in the U.S will expire. In this case, reverification should be done before the expiration date of the work authorization.
The COVID-19 pandemic created a unique workplace situation, with many businesses closing their storefronts and attempting to limit physical interaction between employees. As a response to this, USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security promoted a remote and efficient alternative for employers who needed to review their employee's work documentation. Using E-Verify, employers can remotely satisfy the document examination requirement when completing an employee’s I-9. To access online verification, go to www.e-verify.gov.
Regarding the new I-9 form, E-Verify will automatically use the proper version of the form. There are several requirements for using the E-Verify remote verification process. One key requirement is that the remote verification process must be used for all new employees hired at the worksite in a consistent manner. E-Verify cannot be used selectively. On the new I-9 form, there is a checkbox that must be filled out if you are using E-Verify to review an employee's documents remotely.
In sum, the changes that were made to the I-9 form are meant to help you run your business more efficiently and make it easier for you to properly maintain your employment records. Starting November 1, 2023, it is critical that you use the updated I-9 form when hiring a new employee, which is available for download at www.uscis.gov/i-9. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys here at KI Legal are dedicated to helping you every step of the way in your immigration journey. If you have any questions about this new I-9 Form, or want to discuss your particular immigration situation and the options available to you, give us a call at (212) 404-8644 or email email@example.com.
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