Earlier this week, the latest revisions to the Form I-9 were approved. The new form will soon be released to the public.
The current Form I-9 expired on March 31, 2016, but employers have had to continue to use the expired form until the proposed revisions were approved.
USCIS will need to update the online I-9 form available within 90 days to reflect the changes. However, USCIS may accept the expired version for another 150 days (January 22, 2017). The extension is helpful for employers that don’t always receive updates of this nature in a timely manner. USCIS has yet to publish the new Form I-9 and no indication has been given when they will.
The new Form 1-9 will include “smart” features for error checking (when used in Adobe reader). However, this does not mean the new I-9 will be “electronic”. Employers filling out the form will still be required to print the form, obtain signatures, and store in a safe place.
The new form will also include important structural changes as outlined below:
- The USCIS has replaced the “Other Names Used” field in section 1 with “Other Last Names Used” in order to avoid possible discrimination issues and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
- Section 1 has been modified to request that certain foreign national employees enter either their Form I-94 number or foreign passport information (rather than both).
- Employees who provide an Alien Registration Number/USCIS number in section 1, must also indicate whether the number is in fact an A-Number or a USCIS number (even though currently these are the same).
- If the employee does not use a preparer or translator to assist in completing section 1, he or she must indicate so on a new check box labeled, “I did not use a preparer or translator.” In addition, the form enables the completion of multiple preparers and translators, each of whom must complete a separate preparer and/or translator section.
- The USCIS has added a new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of section 2, where the employer is expected to write the number corresponding with the citizenship/immigration status selected by the employee in section 1. For example, if the employee attested to being a U.S. citizen, the employer must write the number 1 in this new field.
- Section 2 has a new dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form (such as TPS extensions, OPT STEM extensions, H-1B portability, etc.).
- At long last, the mysterious barcode has appeared in the form of a “QR code” that will appear (once printed) and be used to facilitate review by ICE auditors.