On July 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an updated version of the Form I-9, which employers must use to verify that new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States. Employers will be required to begin using this new form, which has a revision date of 07/17/17 N, by September 18, 2017.

Most of the changes to the Form I-9 were minor and designed to simplify the process of completing it. Specifically, the new form includes the following updates:

  • Form FS-240, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, has been added to List C, which enumerates documents that are acceptable for establishing employment authorization. Form FS-240 is used for certain employees who were born in another country, but have at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen. Employers who complete Form I-9 via computer will be able to select Form FS-240 from the List C drop-down menus, and those using E-Verify will select it when creating a case for eligible employees who have presented this document.
  • All birth certificates issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) have been combined under one selection in List C.
  • All List C documents, except the Social Security card, have been renumbered. For example, the document issued by the Department of Homeland Security has been changed from List C #8 to List C #7.
  • In the instructions of the new form, USCIS has removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day of employment” in reference to the employer’s responsibility to complete Section 1. Although the exact reason for this change is unclear, employers should be aware that in keeping with the regulations, Section 1 should be completed “at the time of hire.”
  • USCIS changed the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

These changes are included in the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9, which has been revised for easier navigation. While employers may continue to use the last version of Form I-9 (with a revision date of 11/14/16 N) until September 17, failure to adopt the new form by September 18 may result in hefty fines. Employers must also continue to follow the existing storage and retention rules for previously completed Forms I-9. Downloadable forms and additional information regarding the employment eligibility verification process may be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

The team of HR experts at Creative Business Resources can assist you with completing the Form I-9 and ensuring that your organization is compliant with the most recent state and federal immigration laws. We will guide you through best practices in hiring and maintaining employee documentation files, help you manage the E-Verify program, and train your managers on immigration rules and potential pitfalls when recruiting new employees. Contact us today to learn more!

(Sources: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/whats-new, https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/talent-acquisition/pages/uscis-issues-revised-new-form-i9.aspx).