The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has released a new version of the I-9 with an effective date of 11/14/2016. Employers can continue to use the current version, dated 3/8/2013, until January 22, 2017 when employers will be required to use the new version.
There is still a paper copy of the I-9 form available. However, this new version of the I-9 form is available as a document that is a fillable form. Please note that when using the fillable form, you must print the form upon completion, and then add signatures. Both the signature of the employee and the date field by their signature must be completed after the document is printed. Similarly, the signature of the employer or authorized representative and the adjacent date field must be completed after printing as well.
The online form is not considered to be a true electronic version. Therefore, retention and storage requirements must continue to be followed. There is not a connection to E-Verify as there is when using an electronic service. Remember, Section 1 of the I-9 must still be completed by the employee whether the paper or fillable form is selected.
There haven’t been any changes to the acceptable documents, but there are some important changes in how the form is completed. There is a new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of Section 2 where the employer must select the number corresponding to the immigration status selected by the employee in Section 1. If using the fillable form, the correct number should automatically be completed or it may be selected from the drop down box.
There is now an additional information box on the form in Section 2. This is where the information that was formerly required to be notated in the margins of the form can be written, such as employment authorization extensions, H-1B and H-2A employees continuing employment with the same employer, and other nonimmigrant categories that may receive extensions of stay, etc.
[blockquote background=”#f0f0f0″]Remember, after January 21, 2017 employers must use the newest form for all new hires as well as for any Section 3 reverifications.[/blockquote]
The best part of this new form, besides its availability as a fillable form, are listed instructions for each section of the fillable version. Additionally, once the employee selects a box indicating their immigration status in Section 1, the remainder of the fields in this section are automatically completed, reducing confusion.
A copy of both the fillable version of the form and the paper copy is available at I-9 Central: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. The handbook manual, M-274 Guidance for Employers – Completing the I-9 Form, is currently being updated. It is recommended that you follow the instructions on the form at this time for the most up-to-date information.