While not the most exciting news, all companies should update their hiring forms with the new I-9 available from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service. Use of the new form will become mandatory on December 26. Because no one knows for certain when this will occur, it is best to put the new form in place now to avoid incurring any fines or penalties for non-compliance. The new form only applies to new hires. Employers do not have to re-verify the immigration status of employees who have already completed I-9 forms.
The changes to the I-9 are as follows:
- 5 documents have been removed from List A of the List of Acceptable Documents -- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, Certificate of Naturalization, Alien Registration Receipt Card, Unexpired Reentry Permit, and Unexpired Refugee Travel Document.
- One document -- Unexpired Employment Authorization Document -- was added to List A.
- All Employment Authorization Documents with photographs have been consolidated as one item on List A.
- Instructions regarding Section 1 of the Form I-9 now indicate that the employee is not obliged to provide his or her Social Security number, unless the employer participates in E-Verify.
- Employers may now sign and retain Forms I-9 electronically.
As always, employers do not file I-9 forms with the government, but must keep them either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. All completed forms that fall within that time frame must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. government officials (such as Immigrations & Customs Enforcement or the Department of Labor).
Employers should use the publishing of this new I-9 form as a tickler to review and update document retention policies to ensure that the retention of I-9s is provided for, or to put a document retention policy in place if one does not exist.
Information about the new I-9 form, as well as a copy of the form for download, are available at www.uscis.gov/i-9.