On July 17, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization for employees hired to work in the United States, and all U.S. employers are required to complete a Form I-9 for each individual hired to work within the United States.
Use of the new Form I-9 is mandatory for new hires beginning September 18, 2017. The changes to the form are fairly subtle, but the new form must be used. USCIS clarified that Section 1 of Form I-9 (where the new employee certifies that he or she is authorized to work lawfully in the United States) must be complete “no later than the employee’s first day of employment.” USCIS also updated the I-9 list of acceptable “List C” documents (documents that establish employment authorization only, and not identity). Finally, USCIS updated the guidance document for completing the Form I-9, the Handbook for Employers.
A USCIS description of the changes to Form I-9 can be found here, and the USCIS revised guidance for completing Form I-9 can be found at Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274).
Though the changes to Form I-9 are modest, older forms should no longer be used. Failure to use the current and correct form can result in a notice of violation and significant penalties. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), is stepping up investigation and enforcement.
Given the change made to the language regarding the time period to complete Section 1 of Form I-9, best practice is to begin the I-9 process soon after the prospective employee has accepted the job offer, and no later than the beginning of the first day of employment. A methodical and consistent approach to I-9 processing is helpful to ensuring compliance.
For more information, please contact Perkins Thompson’s Labor and Employment practice group at 207-774-2635 or by e-mail: