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                   March 15, 2013

 UPDATE:  New I-9 Form   


A new edition of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form was introduced last week.  USCIS has been working on the revised I-9 form for more than a year.  The revised M-274 Handbook for Employers can be accessed at the same link.  Many areas on the I-9 Central website have also been updated.  Note the webinar schedule for the new form.

The new edition of the I-9 Form, dated March 8, 2013, will take effect immediately on publication and will become the only acceptable version of the form.  Employers who need to make necessary updates to their business processes to allow for use of the new Form I-9 may continue to use other previously accepted revisions (Rev.02/02/09)N and (Rev. 08/07/09)Y until May 7, 2013.  After May 7, 2013, all employers must use the revised Form I-9 for each new employee hired in the United States.  Employers who are not using the I-9 form following the 60-day grace period will be subject to fines and penalties under 274(a) of The Act (The Immigration and Nationality Act),  IRCA, as well as ICE.


The revised Form I-9 has several new features, including new fields and a new format to reduce errors, and more clearly describes the information employees and employers must provide in each section. The instructions to the form are now 7 pages in length, and we recommend that you provide the instructions and the list of documents to your new employees to refer to during the process.  The form looks much more official and now displays the DHS seal at the top left of the form with space built in to eventually implement future barcode technology.  Helpful new images have been added to the M-274 Handbook to illustrate how employees and employers can complete Sections 1-3 of the new form. Please also see page 23 for updated guidance on recording changes of name and other identity guidance.


In the USCIS Stakeholder teleconference held on March 11, 2013, many of the questions centered around the following topics that we thought might be helpful to share with you, as follows:  

1) Do you need to do new I-9 forms for all employees?
  You do not need to do new I-9 forms for those employees who already have one.

2)  When to accept receipts:  Receipts for initial employment or renewal (during reverification) of employment are not acceptable.  There are 3 different documents that qualify as receipts are:  (a) Receipts may be presented for sections 2 and 3 if the document was lost, stolen or damaged; the receipt is valid for 90 days.  (b) Temporary I-551 (a printable notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa inside a foreign passport).  This is a 1-year permanent residency stamp for a foreign national that has received permanent status abroad.  The Form I-551 (permanent residency card) must be presented prior to or no later than the expiration stamp inside the passport.  (c) An I-94 entry card with an unexpired refugee stamp.  This is considered a receipt for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD card), or a combination of an unrestricted Social Security Card and a List B document and is valid for 90 days.

Rehires and Reverifications:  If you are rehiring an employee who completed an I-9 form within 3 years, you may continue to use the existing I-9 form if their employment authorization is still valid, and record any name changes, the rehire date and other required information in Section 3.  Remember to also adjust the employee's first day of employment in Section 2 of the form.  If Section 3 has previously been filled in, then start a new I-9 form and fill out Section 3 and attach it to the old I-9 form.  As a reminder, do not reverify US citizens, permanent residents, conditional residents, asylees with unrestricted work authorization and List B identity documents such as driver's licenses and state ID cards.

The use of notaries:  Notaries are "designated agents" of the employer.  They should not imprint their notary stamp on any I-9 documentation or attach same to the I-9 form.  The employer is responsible for their actions and any violations relating to Form I-9.  Photocopies of I-9 forms are also not acceptable from Notaries.  A notary or any other designated agent appointed by the employer must examine the original documents presented to them and thoroughly complete and sign section 2 of the form and return the original to the employer, along with photocopies of the presented documents should this be a company policy.

Recording social security numbersOn the List of Acceptable Documents for List C, Social Security card restrictions are explained to better assist in examination of the document.  Note that individuals with temporary work authorization are issued restricted social security cards that indicate:  "Not valid without USCIS/DHS work authorization".

Recording the date of hire in Section 2
When an offer of employment is extended and accepted but the employee has not yet started, the I-9 can be completed using that date instead of the 'actual' start date of employment.  You may then go back into the form and correct that date to reflect the 1st day of employment for pay, and initial and date the change.  Recruiters or recruiters for a fee are not required to enter the employee's first day of employment.  You may also choose to enter as the first day, the date that the employee was placed in a job pool after an offer of employment and acceptance. 

7)  Must employee present documents that correspond to box checked in Section 1? 
No, employers may not insist on viewing any particular documents. However, if information is recorded in section 1 that puts the employer "on notice" that work authorization may be expiring, you are required to track that date and follow-up with the employee concerning their continued work authorization.  

USCIS has indicated that a good place to begin implementing the use of the new I-9 form is to take time to first thoroughly read and digest the revised M-274 Handbook for Employers.  Download it from the USCIS website and provide a complete copy to each and every employee charged with processing and managing the I-9 function at your place of employment to ensure that they are aware of the changes and are equipped to properly implement them.  Update your company policies to reflect the changes in the form.


For those of you who manage your I-9 forms via an electronic software vendor, this is absolutely the right time to have a conversation with them concerning their compliance with the new form and make sure that it complies with all pertinent rules and regulations for I-9 electronic software .  This is also an excellent time to think about additional training for your staff.  Refer here for our services and solutions.


To order copies of the new I-9 form from USCIS, you can call 1-800-870-3676.




If you are a member of LinkedIn, you might wish to check out our I-9/E-Verify: Smart Solutions for Employers group.     


Should you wish to consult with us, email, or call to speak with one of our immigration professionals 562 612.3996.

Immigration Compliance Group
562 612.3996

Immigration Compliance Group focuses its practice on corporate employment verification compliance and US inbound business immigration.  Our team has a depth of experience in providing uniquely tailored services and solutions to assist our clients in accomplishing their immigration related objectives.  

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