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New I-9 form to be used starting January 22, 2017

November 22, 2016

By Anthony Kaylin, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that starting January 22, 2017, all employers in the United States will be required to use a new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, exclusively to conduct employment eligibility verification. The current I-9 form may be used by employers until January 21, 2017.  After that date, the new I-9 form dated 11/14/2016 must be used by employers and all prior versions of the form, including the current version, will be invalid.

The proposed form was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which approved a revised Form I-9 on August 25. The USCIS published its revised Form I-9 on November 14, 2016.  It will be available for use on the USCIS website as well as in paper format.

The new form includes both “smart” features and content-based changes. The smart features will allow users to access and fill out a smart Form I-9 on USCIS’s website. The content-based revisions to the Form I-9 add new fields and update the language found in other fields. In addition to these changes, the new smart form automatically generates a “QR Code” that will be used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement auditors.

The new smart Form I-9 will facilitate compliance by guiding users throughout the process and incorporating various features – drop-down menus, hover text, and real-time error notifications – which allow users to reduce errors when completing the form. The new I-9 form also includes an alert that is triggered when the system detects that a required field was left blank or incorrectly completed. Importantly, the new smart form incorporates a new feature that will increase compliance by helping ensure that the information provided by an individual employee is consistent with the citizenship or immigration status indicated by the employee in Section 1 of the form. The form automatically marks fields that do not apply to an employee’s selected status with “Not Applicable.”

There will also be new drop-down menus for the List A, List B, and List C document fields in Section 2.  These drop downs are specifically tailored so that a user may select only the documents that correspond to the employee’s citizenship or immigration status. If an employee presents a document that does not match the citizenship/immigration status selected in Section 1, the smart form will alert the employer with a notification message and provide instructions on how to proceed.

In addition, there are content changes in the new form in Section 1 and 2.  First, in Section 1 USCIS replaced the “Other Names Used” field and replaced it with “Other Last Names Used.”  Second, employees who provide an Alien Registration Number (A-number) or USCIS number in Section 1 must now indicate whether the number provided is an A-number or USCIS number.  Third, the new form requires certain foreign national employees to enter either their foreign passport information or their Form I-94 information, not both. Fourth, the new Form I-9 allows multiple preparers and/or translators to participate in the completion of the form, and if one was not used, the employee will check a new box labeled “I did not use a preparer or translator.”

In Section 2 USCIS included a new field at the top labeled “Citizenship/Immigration Status.” This new field requires the employer to input the number correlating with the citizenship or immigration status input by the employee in Section 1. Also, USCIS included a new field that allows employers to input additional information that is currently being notated in the margins of the current Form I-9.

Again, if an employer wants to use the new smart I-9 form, it is to be completed on USCIS’s website and they must print a copy of the form.  Employers will be able to use paper I-9 forms but must proceed with their normal signing, storing, and reverification practices for paper Forms I-9.

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