Understanding the I-9 Updates

I-9 Updates

The I-9 form is a requirement for all employers and new employees to complete at the time of hire.  There are specific rules as to how to complete the I-9 and when. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made an announcement in the Federal Register on January 31, 2020, that the new version of the I-9 Form (rev.10/21/2019) is available for use immediately.  Yet, employers must transition to this new form by May 1, 2020.

Tips on Completing the I-9 Form

Before we get into what specifically changed.  There are some key tips for completing an I-9 form.

  • Section 1 of the I-9 form can only be completed by the employee.
    • This section MUST be completed by the end of the first workday.
    • Yet, an employee may complete the I-9 form as soon as they have accepted an offer of employment.
    • The burden of proof is on the employer here, therefore, we recommend that employers have all new hires sign an offer letter.
    • We encourage employers to double-check section 1 to ensure that one status is checked and one preparer/translator box is checked.
    • Note, minors must use a preparer/translator to complete this form.
    • The Spanish version of the I-9 form is only allowed to be used in Puerto Rico.  This version of the form cannot be used in any other place.
  • Section 2 of the I-9 form is completed by the employer by the end of the 3rd calendar day.
    • The individual that represents the employer must physically examine all I-9 documents.
    • Employers cannot dictate what documents the employee must provide.
    • We recommend using the on-line version of the I-9 as it will auto-fill boxes from section 1 to section 2 and provide the correct abbreviations, issuing authorities.

What are the changes of note in the new Form I-9? 

There are several changes to the instructions of the form and clarification of concerns from past versions.

  • In the fillable I-9 version of the form, USCIS added two countries to the country of issuance field in Section 1: Eswatini and North Macedonia. These two countries were also added in Section 2 as passport issuing authorities.
  • In the instructions to the new Form I-9:
    • Clarification of who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer. This confirms that any person may be designated to complete and sign the form on the employer’s behalf. The employer is still liable for errors of their designee in Form I-9 completion.
    • Update of USCIS website addresses.
    • Clarification of acceptable documents.
    • Update about how to request the paper Form I-9.
    • Update of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) privacy notice.
  • The new Form I-9 instructions also indicate that employers do not have to insert “N/A” into unused lists of recorded documents in Section 2 of the Form I-9.
    • Yes!!! We found this to be a major frustration on behalf of employers.  We are grateful to see this change.
  • In addition, as to List C documents in Section 2, the new Form I-9 instructions note that the List C number 7 bucket for employment authorization documents issued by DHS does NOT include the I-766 employment authorization card from the List A employment authorization documents.
  • New I-9 instructions indicate that a List B identity card issued by a federal, state, or local government agency or entity does NOT include a driver’s license or identity card issued by a State or outlying possession of the United States as described in section B1 of the List of Acceptable Documents.

If you have questions on your I-9 forms or how to conduct an I-9 audit, feel free to join us for an upcoming webinar or replay of this I-9 webinar by registering here.