USCIS Issues Revised Form I-9 Effective January 22, 2017

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") has issued a revised Form I‑9, Employment Eligibility Verification form (the "Revised Form I‑9") that all U.S. employers must use beginning January 22, 2017, for all new hires on or after this date.  The Revised Form I‑9 must also be used in any of the limited situations in which an current employee must complete the Revised Form I‑9. Note that current employees are not required to complete the Revised Form I‑9 if they already have on file a current and valid Form I‑9 that does not require reverification or substantial correction.

The Revised Form I‑9 has a November 14, 2016 revision date.  Employers may continue using the old Form I‑9 (with a March 8, 2013 revision date) until January 21, 2017.  The revisions made to Form I‑9 are designed to reduce errors in completing the form as well as to make it easier to pre‑fill certain parts of the form electronically.  The Revised Form I‑9 is however not a truly electronic form; therefore, while the Revised Form I‑9 allows for parts of the form to be completed electronically, it must still be printed and signed by the employee and employer if the employer has not moved over to a fully electronic Form I‑9 system compliant with USCIS's strict electronic Form I‑9 rules.

The revisions to the Form I‑9 include drop‑down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on‑screen instructions for each field, a separation of the instructions from the Form I‑9 itself, prompts to ensure required fields are not missed, the ability to enter multiple preparers and translators, a dedicated area for additional information (rather than having to use the margins), and the automatic inclusion of a quick response ("QR") code.

The Revised Form I‑9 also requires certain spaces not be left blank, even if they are not applicable or are optional.  These spaces include:  Middle Initial, Other Last Names Used, Employment Authorization Expiration Date, Alien Registration/USCIS Number, Form I‑94 Admission Number, Foreign Passport Number, Country of Issuance, E‑mail Address, and Telephone Number, Document Number and Expiration Date.