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All U.S. Employers Required to Begin Using New Form I-9 by January 22, 2017

Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a revised version of the Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification on November 14, 2016.  By January 22, 2017, all U.S. employers must begin using only the new version, dated November 14, 2016.  Until then, employers can continue to use the version dated March 8, 2013, or use the new version.

The most significant change is that Section 1 of the new version now asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used.”  It also simplifies certification for certain foreign nationals.

Other changes to the Form I-9 include:

The addition of a supplemental page for the preparer/translator.

  • The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly;
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators;
  • A new area to include additional information rather than adding it in the margins;
  • The addition of a supplemental page for the preparer/translator.

In addition, the electronic version of the new Form I-9 is now easier to complete.  The electronic version now includes drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, simplified access to the full instructions, and the ability to clear the form and start over if needed.  When the user prints the completed form, a quick response (QR) code is automatically generated.

Some things have not changed, however:

  • The I-9 must still be completed no later than the first day of employment and never before an offer of employment has been extended and accepted.
  • The employer should never tell the new employee what identification documents to use for the form, as in “Don’t forget to bring your Social Security card tomorrow.”  Instead, the employer should give the new employee a list of acceptable documents and let them choose which to use as documentation.
  • The form should never be backdated.  If the employer forgets to have the I-9 completed timely, it should still date the form accurately, but then attach an explanation for the delay as documentation.
  • To reduce the potential of mistakes and omissions, it is always wise for an employer to designate one person in the organization to be responsible for managing completion of these forms.

Congress established the Form I-9 requirements in 1986 when it passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).  IRCA prohibits employers from hiring applicants for employment in the United States without verifying their identity and employment authorization on the Form I-9. 

The newly revised version of the Form I-9 can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website:

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