U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently announced that the newest version of the Form I-9 is now available and ready for use. Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for every employee hired during or after 1986 who are continuing in their employment and have a reasonable expectation of employment at all times. The Form I-9 is used for employment eligibility verification by confirming the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification within 3 business days of the date of hire of their employee (the hire date means the first day of work for pay).
Employers may continue to use the version of the Form I-9 that has a revision date of March 8, 2013 for new hires until January 21, 2017. On January 22, 2017, any and all previous versions of the I-9 Form will no longer be valid for newly hired employees and employers will be expected to be fully transitioned to the new form, which will not have an expiration date until August 31, 2019. Please note that you are not required to update or redo current employee Form I-9s on file with the new Form I-9 if the information is otherwise accurate. Employers only need to ensure the new Form I-9 is used for all new employees moving forward after January 21, 2017.
Changes with the new Form I-9 are particularly focused on assisting employers in decreasing errors which could, and have previously resulted in serious fines and penalties. According to USCIS, a few key (positive) changes to the new Form I-9 include:
- Embedded instructions for completing each field,
- Validation on certain fields and the addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly,
- The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators,
- A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins,
- A supplemental page for the preparer/translator,
- Separate instructions from the form; however, employers are still required to present the instructions to the employee completing the form.
Katrina Dietrich is the HR Consulting Manager at MCM CPAs & Advisors. Prior to joining MCM, Katrina developed a strong general HR background, gaining expertise in employee relations, recruitment, mentoring, training and development, in particular within the manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
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