Effective January 22, 2017, employers will be required to use a revised I-9 form which has been issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Until then, either the current form (dated March 8, 2013) or the new one (dated November 14, 2016) will be acceptable.
The I-9 is the form required to verify that all employees (citizens and non-citizens) hired to work in the United States since November 6, 1986, are eligible to work in the United States. Each employer and employee must properly complete the document at the time of hire (or reverification where required) and the employer must retain the form for the required period of time. The fines for failure to comply with the process have been increased, and range from $216 to $2,156 per I-9.
The new form, and instructions, may be downloaded at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
While the form (a PDF) is denoted as a “smart” form and contains such items as drop-down boxes, calendars, on-screen instructions for each field and internal controls for consistency and completeness, it will not accept an electronic signature. Therefore, the completed form must be printed and signed manually and the paper version stored by the employer.
The new form includes a number of changes, including a dedicated area for “additional information” – rather than having to note it in the margins – the ability to enter multiple preparers and translators and changes to Section 1 regarding prior names and necessary identification information. Further, there have been changes to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of persons from certain countries. Employers verifying or re-verifying the employability status of persons who are TPS beneficiaries from Nepal, Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone should refer to the Temporary Protected Status page on I-9 Central.
Although a Spanish version of the form is available (and may be printed by the employer as a reference) ONLY employers and employees in Puerto Rico may actually fill out this version. All other employers and employees must complete the English version of the form in order to meet their employment verification requirements.