By Derek Ross, Human Resources Consultant
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a new I-9 form (click here for the new form) that became available to employers on August 1, 2023. Employers may use the new form now or continue to use the older Form I-9 (Edition 10/21/19) through October 31, 2023. Employers who fail to use the new form for all employees hired on or after Nov. 1, 2023 will be subject to penalties.
What is Form I-9?
Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Federal law requires all U.S. employers to properly complete a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete a portion of the form.
What has Changes on the Form?
DHS announced following revisions to the previous Form I-9:
- Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet by merging some existing fields. No previous fields were removed.
- Moved Section 1, Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary.
- Moved Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required. Employers may attach additional supplement sheets, as necessary.
- Revised some terminology and clarified the difference between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
- Ensured the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices.
- Removed certain features to ensure the form can be downloaded easily.
- Improved guidance to the Lists of Acceptable Documents to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
- Added a box that eligible employers must check if the employee’s Form I-9 documentation was examined under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.
Updates to the Form I-9 instructions include the following:
- Reduced length of instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages.
- Added definitions of key actors in the Form I-9 process.
- Streamlined the steps each actor takes to complete their section of the form.
- Added instructions for use of the new checkbox for employers who choose to examine Form I-9 documentation under an alternative procedure.
- Removed and relocated the abbreviations charts.
What about Remote Examination of Documentation?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has also issued a final ruling regarding an alternative document examination procedure for remote workers. According to the DHS, “employers who meet four requirements may choose an alternative procedure in lieu of physically examining Form I-9 documentation that had been examined remotely under the COVID-19 flexibilities. To qualify for the alternative procedure, the employer must have:
- performed remote examination of an employee’s documents between March 20, 2020, and July 31, 2023;
- been enrolled in E-Verify at the time they completed the Form I-9 for that employee;
- created a case in E-Verify for that employee (except for reverification); and
- be currently enrolled in and continue to participate in E-Verify.
Employers who do not meet all four requirements must perform an in-person physical examination of documents by August 30, 2023.
According to guidance posted on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, qualified employers who choose to use the new alternative procedure “must remotely examine the employee’s Form I-9 documents by conducting a live video interaction for each employee whose documents were examined remotely under the temporary flexibilities but never in-person physically examined.” The website gives further instructions for annotations that will be needed on those updated Form I-9s.
According to the Society of Human Resources (SHRM), “The new I-9 rule is a giant leap forward in that it recognizes that remote employment is prevalent and that some of the old I-9 rules needed to be updated.”
Reminder: Any employee hired prior to August 1, 2023 will not need to complete this new Form I-9. The new Form I-9 may be used for new hires starting on August 1, 2023. Beginning Nov. 1, 2023, only the new Form I-9 dated “08/01/2023” may be used.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website has an option for employers to download a manual with information about the new form and remote verification.
If you are an employer with any HR concerns, please send an email to HRhelpline@keystoneinsgrp.com. If you have any questions about services provided by Keystone’s Risk Management Division, please visit our website or call (724) 864-8745.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Use of and access to this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between Keystone’s Risk Management Division or our employment attorney and the user or browser.