On Jan. 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new version of Form I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification. Although employers can and should begin using the new Form I-9 immediately, the old Form I-9 will not become obsolete until April 30, 2020.
Background. The law requires employers, certain agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee (all referred to as “employers”) must verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual they hire for employment in the United States on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.
As described in a notice published by USCIS, Form I-9 collects identifying information about the employee (and preparer or translator if used), and requires the employee to attest to whether he or she is a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident, or alien authorized to work in the United States. Form I-9 also collects identifying information about the employer and information regarding the employee’s identity and employment authorization. The employee must present original documentation evidencing his or her identity and employment authorization, which the employer must review.
Employers must maintain Forms I-9 for as long as an individual works for the employer and for the later of three years after the employee’s date of hire or one year after the date employment ends. Various government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Immigration Rights Section in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, and the Department of Labor, have right to inspect an employer’s Forms I-9. An employer’s failure to ensure proper completion and retention of Forms I-9 may subject the employer to civil money penalties, and, in some cases, criminal penalties.
Changes to Form I-9. The paper version of the new Form I-9 has not changed, but the electronic version has been modified, as follows:
- Added Eswatini and North Macedonia to the Country of Issuance and foreign passport issuing authority fields, to reflect these countries’ recent name changes
- Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
- Updated USCIS website addresses
- Provided acceptable document clarifications
- Updated the process for requesting the paper Form I-9
- Updated the DHS Privacy Notice
As always, please reach out to your regular employment lawyer with questions.