Updated Form I-9: What You Need To Know

person filling out new updated form i-9

Did you know the USCIS Form I-9 is changing? Beginning on January 31, 2020, employers may use either the 07/17/17 N or the 10/21/19 version until April 30. However, starting on May 1, employers will only be able to use the updated 10/21/19 Form I-9. Here’s what you need to know about the updated form.

Form I-9 Refresher

USCIS uses Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Both employers and employees are responsible for completing their respective sections of Form I-9.

Employees must complete Section One on or before their first day of employment. The I-9 can be completed prior to the start date, so long as an employment offer has been extended.

After this, employers (or their representative) must complete Section Two within three business days of their new employee’s first day.

Top Tip: Don’t forget, employers must keep an employee’s I-9 for three years from their start date, or one year after their last day of employment, whichever comes later. For more information on Form I-9 Retention Requirements, log in to the HR Support Center and search “I-9”!

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The Updated Form I-9

The new edition of the form lists additional countries in the Country of Issuance field in Section One. Additionally, there are a few other minor changes visible only when completing the electronic version of the form, including:

Authorized Representatives

Clarification on who can act as an authorized representative of an employer. Employers may designate anyone to be an authorized representative to complete Section Two, but the employer is still liable for any violations committed by the designated person.

John Fay, president of the LawLogix division of Hyland Software, a company that specializes in cloud-based I-9, E-Verify and immigration compliance services, explained that employers face difficulties in completing I-9s for remotely hired workers, and needed more specific instructions which clarify who may serve as an authorized representative when completing the form.

Acceptable Documents

Clarifications pertaining to acceptable documents. Writing N/A in the identity document columns is no longer necessary. When entering document information in the List A column (or alternatively in the List B and C columns), you will not need to enter “N/A” in the columns which are not being used.

The requirement to enter N/A in certain portions of the form could be burdensome and unclear.

Fay continued, “Now for example, if you have an employee present a U.S. passport which is recorded in the List A column, you do not need to write N/A in all of the fields in the List B and C columns.”

List C Documents

The new form also clarifies that the form’s List C documents establishing employment authorization do not include a worker’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that contains a photograph.

The List C documents include items like a Social Security card and birth certificate, while the EAD (Form I-766) that contains a photograph providing temporary employment authorization to work in the United States is a List A document.

What Do You Think?

Although the deadline for the exclusive use of the updated Form I-9 is still a few months away, we recommend you give it a try with your next new hire. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

For more HR tips and support, be sure to log on to SDP’s HR Support Center. (Free for all clients!) There, you can access our entire library of laws, articles, policies, and trainings on HR topics affecting all states and municipalities. And don’t forget to follow us out on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for even more business tips & tricks!

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