On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new version of the Department of Homeland Security’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). The updated form is mandatory beginning September 18, 2017. Until then, employers can use an older version of the form (revision date November 14, 2016). Copies of the new form, a supplement sheet, and the instructions for completion, as well as a Handbook for Employers containing guidance for completing Form I-9 can be obtained on-line from the USCIS.
The new form is updated to provide changes to instructions and the list of acceptable documents. Among the changes are the following:
- The name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices has been changed to Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.
- Documents on List C (documents that establish employment authorization), other than the social security card, have been renumbered. For example, the employment authorization document that is issued by the Department of Homeland Security is changed from selection C#8 to selection C#7 in List C.
- For online users, there is a new Consular Report of Birth Abroad form (Form FS-240) that is available from a drop-down menu.
- Those employers who use E-Verify can use Form FS-240 for employees who have presented that document as verification of eligibility.
- All birth certificates issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350, and Form FS-240) are now covered by selection C#2 in List C.
The new form must be used for new employees hired on or after September 18, 2017. For re-verification of employment authorization for employees whose employment authorization or employment authorization documentation expires, the employer may use Section 3 of the new form. For an employee who is rehired within three years from the date of completion of a previous I-9 form and who remains employment authorized, the employer may rely on the previously executed I-9 form or complete a new one. There is no requirement that the new form be completed for current employees with respect to whom there has been no change in employment authorization or employment authorization documentation.
Failure to use the updated form when required to do so could result in civil and even criminal penalties. In light of the current Administration’s vigorous enforcement of the immigration laws, it is important that all of our clients know of this change in I-9 requirements.