The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently released an updated version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, found here. The new Form I-9 became mandatory on January 22, 2017, replacing the previous version dated March 8, 2013.
Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States, which includes citizens and noncitizens.
Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form. Under federal immigration law, employers must maintain a properly completed Form I-9 for all employees hired in the U.S. after Nov. 6, 1986.
It is important to use the correct form and complete it accurately, especially in light of recently-increased civil penalty rates for errors and omissions, or “paperwork violations”. Last year, the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ), Homeland Security(DHS) and Labor (DOL) announced higher civil fines (nearly double) against employers who commit immigration-related offenses, including Form I-9. The new penalties went into effect on August 1 of last year and apply to violations occurring after November 2, 2015.
The new Form I-9 contains a number of new features - a separate instruction sheet, and a handy “electronic” version that includes drop-down menus and pop ups, which can go a long way to help ensure accuracy. Though convenient, the e-version cannot be submitted online.
Other changes include (but are not limited to):
1) Clarification of the “other names used” field in Section to request only “other last names used” and the numbering of immigration status categories in Section 1;
2) Additional details regarding the preparer/translator category, including the ability to select multiple preparers/translators;
3) A designated area to enter additional information that previously needed to be entered as a margin note, such as the auto-extension of an individual’s work-authorized status, where applicable;
For more detailed reading on the updated Form I9, please visit one of the resource links below, or contact TRA General Counsel, Kenneth Besserman.