The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will be releasing a revised version of Employment Verification Form, that is, Form I-9, on November 22, 2016. This new form will help the employers to verify the identity as well as the employment authorization eligibility of the employees. The use of the new version of Form I-9 will be mandatory from January 22, 2017. Though the new I-9 form is expected to be released in November, but employers might continue using the current version of the form until January 21, 2017.
Smart Features of the New Form I-9
The new smart Form I-9 will guide users throughout the process and facilitate compliance by incorporating various features—such as, drop-down menus, real-time error notifications, and hover text—which will reduce user errors when completing the form. The new I-9 form includes an alert that will trigger if the system detects that a required field is left blank or is completed incorrectly. The smart form also incorporates a new feature that will help to increase compliance by ensuring that the details provided by an individual employee are consistent with the immigration or citizenship status indicated by the employee in Section 1 of the form. The smart form will automatically mark fields that do not apply to the selected status of the employee with “Not Applicable.”
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has come up with modified electronic features that make it possible to complete the form in Adobe pdf format from its website. The modifications include:
- Certain field validations—such as an expiration date or the Social Security number in Lists B or C documents.
- Drop-down calendars and lists.
- Clicking question mark in each field gives instructions for the field.
- Once the form is printed, Quick Response (QR) bar codes are generated in Sections 1, 2, and 3.
- The top of the page has buttons to access instructions, print the form, and clear the form to start a new form.
The most important thing that is to be kept in mind is that regardless of the method of completing the form, you must sign it and date it after printing a hard copy. It might not get saved electronically. Though the form is designed with smart features, employers still need to (1) print the form; (2) obtain handwritten signatures; (3) monitor updates and reverifications; (4) retain the form; and (5) retype the information into the system.
Tips for Compliance
Here are some tips on completion of the new I-9 form to stay in compliance now and after the form is released:
- The complete form and instructions should be provided to the employees along with offer letters so that the candidates know what is required in advance of their first day of work.
- It must be ensured that the employees complete Section 1 of the form no later than the first day of employment. However, the employers cannot ask anyone to complete Section 1 of the form until acceptance of a job offer.
- It must be ensured that an employer representative completes Section 2 of the form after presenting acceptable documents, within 3 business days of the first day of employment. However, if an employee is hired for less than 3 business days, then, Section 2 of the form must be completed on the first day of employment.
- Employees should not be asked for more documents than what is required-i.e. one acceptable document that meets the requirements of List A; OR one document from List B and one from List C.
For more information on the changes to Form I-9, attend this Webinar by expert speaker Patricia A. Bollman, who is a 1986 graduate of Tulane University School of Law and has practiced primarily in the area of immigration and nationality law for 30 years. You will also learn how to properly complete each section of the Form I-9, with an emphasis on the portions of each section that will be changed in the November 22, 2016 version of the Form I-9.