United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is again releasing a new and updated version of Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification document. Since November 1986, all U.S. employers have been required to complete and retain the I-9 for new employees. The most recent version of the form went into effect on Jan. 22, 2017, but, for some unknown reason, USCIS is now issuing another version. This new version will be mandatory as of Sept. 18, 2017. The easiest way to identify the new form is by the date (07/17/17) noted in the bottom left corner; the prior version was dated 11/14/2016.

A couple of points to bear in mind:

  1. The new I-9 must be used for any new employees hired on or after Sept. 18, 2017. There is no need to complete the new form for any current employees, and employers should continue to follow existing storage and retention rules for all of their previously completed Forms I-9.
  2. The new form has the same expiration date as the prior version—08/31/2019—so employers should be careful to use the proper version of the form with 07/17/17 noted in the bottom left corner.

It’s important to note that a common I-9 preparation error, such as using the wrong version of the form, is considered a violation and could subject an employer to civil fines should Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conduct an I-9 inspection.

The latest I-9 remains a three-page form, and there are only a few minor changes to consider.

  1. The I-9 instructions now state that Section 1 of the form must be completed “no later than the employee’s first day of employment.” Previous instructions noted this section had to be completed by “the end of” the first day.
  2. The list of acceptable documents on page three has been slightly revised. The List C now indicates that a document evidencing the birth abroad of an employee, including Certificate of Report of Birth (Forms DS-1350 and FS-545) and the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240), is acceptable to establish employment authorization.

Finally, the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (Form M-274) was also updated in July 2017. It provides useful information on completing the I-9, retention requirements, unlawful discrimination and prohibited practices, and use of the E-Verify system. To obtain either the handbook or I-9 forms (including Spanish language versions), or brush up on your I-9 knowledge via an I-9 webinar on demand, visit I-9 Central.