A new I-9 form was published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on July 17, 2017. This will replace the most recently revised I-9 form from November 2016. Employers must use the new form, with a revision date of 07/17/17 N, beginning on September 18, 2017. The revision date is located in the bottom left corner of the form; it is NOT the expiration date at the top.
The current Form I-9 version (revision date of Rev. 11/14/16 N) will be valid until September 17, 2017. After that point, all employers must switch to the newly revised form.
What is an I-9 form?
I-9 forms are used to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for employment in the United States (whether a citizen or noncitizen). Employers must complete a Form I-9 for every new hire. Typically, they are only used when the federal government is conducting an enforcement audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers must keep I-9 forms on file for all employees, and must be stored for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated (whichever is later).
2017 I-9 Form Changes
The July 2017 form changes are important, but minimal in scope:
- Combines list of acceptable birth certificates (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) into choice C#2 in List C
- All List C documents were renumbered except the Social Security Card
- Added Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad) to Sections 2 and 3 of List C
- Minor changes to form instructions
- Renames the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, its new name
2016 I-9 Form Changes
In November 2016, a new I-9 form was published with significant alterations. Those changes are still correct and in effect. They include:
- Structural changes and “smart” error-checking features (when using Adobe PDF viewer or application). The USCIS website specifies it is not an electronic I-9 form; when using Adobe PDF Reader – you’ll still have to print out the form to obtain signatures and dates.
- Validations on specific fields such as Social Security Number to make sure the number was entered correctly.
- New “Citizenship/Immigration Status” drop-down field in Section 2
- Immigrants who checked the Alien Authorized to Work box do not need to provide both the Form I-94 and a foreign passport number in Section 1, but just one of those options.
- Drop-down lists and calendars
- Requires preparer and/or translator certification. Employees must check that they did or did not use a preparer or translator to complete the form.
- Other Names Used (ONU) field in Section 1 is now other last names used. This change is to prevent discrimination and protect transgender or other individuals who have changed their first names.
- Embedded instructions for completing each field are provided by clicking on a question mark in the field.
- Addition of QR (Quick Response) barcodes at the bottom of the form that are generated after printing.
- The form may appear as three pages on your computer screen, but only prints out as two pages.
What do employers need to do?
While the July 2017 changes are subtle, employers that fail to comply by the new deadline could be fined. Employers should be aware of the new form and new dates and should use the transition period to make sure their companies have compliant I-9 programs in place, including proper and consistent I-9 documentation and storage. They do not have to correct or replace any I-9 forms completed before the deadline.