HR Basics, Legal Issues

New I-9 Form Finally Released; Employers Must Use It by May 7

I-9

By Shannon Stevenson

Last Friday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of the new I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.

All employers are required to use the new I-9 immediately to verify the identity and employment authorization eligibility of their employees.

Although USCIS requires employers to use the new Form I-9 beginning March 7, Citizenship and Immigration has provided a 60-day grace period for employers to continue to use the current version of the form (or the 02/02/09 version) until May 7, 2013.

Failure of an employer to ensure proper completion and retention of Forms I-9 may subject an employer to civil money penalties of up to $1,100 per I-9, and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Although the new two-page Form I-9 mainly contains format changes, additional data fields, and further instructions to the employer, it increases the administrative burden placed on employers.

Here is a section-by-section summary of the changes to the Form I-9:

Section 1: Employer Information and Attestation

Fields are added to list the employee’s email address and telephone number, but are optional; and

  • For an employee who checks “An Alien Authorized to Work Until ...” and who were issued an I-94 card, he or she will also need to list the foreign passport number and country of issuance.

Section 2: Employer Review and Verification

Employers will need to list employee’s full name at the top of Page 2;

  • List A now has room to list three documents, which is helpful to the employer because the prior form only had room for two documents and there are occasions when three documents are required, e.g., J-1 visa holders or F-1 students completing Optional Practical Training;
  • Certification Box – adds numbers to the items the HR representative must attest to when reviewing the documents and separates out the place where the employer is required to insert the employee’s first date of work for pay;
  • The List of Acceptable Documents, List A, Number 5 has revised language but essentially includes the same information regarding accepting foreign passports and I-94 cards;
  • The List of Acceptable Documents, List C, Number 1 provides clarification that Social Security Cards containing restrictions, such as “Not Valid For Employment,” “Valid for Work Only with INS Authorization,” or “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization” are not acceptable as List C documents; and
  • The List of Acceptable Documents includes a reference to Section 2 of the Handbook for Employers regarding information about acceptable receipts.

Section 3: Reverification & Rehires

  • Provides clarification that List B identity documents do not require reverification; and,
  • Adds a field for the Employer representative to print his or her name.

To avoid discrimination claims, do not complete the new Form I-9 for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless reverification applies.

This was originally published on Fisher & Phillips’ Legal AlertsThis Legal Alert is intended to provide an overview of an important new law. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.

Shanon Stevenson is a partner in the Atlanta office of the law firm Fisher & Phillips, and a member of the firm's Global Immigration Practice Group. Shanon's practice focuses on corporate immigration law, and she has comprehensive knowledge and extensive experience in a broad range of immigration areas including current immigration legislation, handling nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applications, outbound visas, and I-9 compliance. Contact her at sstevenson@laborlawyers.com.