Although the revised Form I-9 has been available for use since USCIS announced its release on July 17, employers weren't required to immediately transition to it and could continue to use the previous version. However, this won't be the case any longer after Sept. 17. To maintain compliance with the federal government regulations, businesses must use the latest version or risk incurring audits, fines and other penalties.
Today, we'll go over the changes made to the Form I-9 and review how the changes will make little impact to the completion of the Form I-9 and will continue to make the process of completing the form for all new hires and employers simpler in some cases.
List of Acceptable Documents Revision
USCIS made the most substantive changes to the Form I-9 List of Acceptable Documents. The certification of report of birth issued by the Department of State, Forms DS-1350, FS-545, and FS-240, are now listed together under List C of the List of Acceptable Documents. The addition of FS-240 to the birth certification documents will make it easier for new hires bearing U.S. citizenship due to parentage but born outside of the country and may be lacking a birth certificate. By consolidating these, the List C list of documents is now 7 items instead of 8.
USCIS considers documents listed in List C as establishing employment authorization, however these documents are not a form of identification. Identifying documents are contained in List B, while List A documents establish both identity and employment authorization. Keep in mind that new and existing employees can choose which documents they would like to present, as it's against the law to require specific documentation for these purposes and doing so may result in violations and fines.
A few minor updates have been made to the instructions accompanying the Form I-9, for example whenever the “end of the first day of employment” is mentioned, this has been changed to “first day of employment” and the contact information for employers and employees has changed from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, the email has changed from www.justice.gov/crt/about/osc to https://www.justice.gov/crt/immigrant-and-employee-rights-section. The phone numbers for both the employer and employee have remained the same.
To ensure full I-9 compliance, employers must adhere to the same retention and storage rules that applied to past versions of Form I-9. Doing so allows businesses to manage onboarding and HR processes and maintain compliance.