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Employers Must Use New I-9 Form Starting Today, May 7th
May 7, 2013
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has released a new I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, effective today, May 7th. Every employer must use this new I-9 form for every new, paid employee, some re-hired employees, and every employee requiring re-verification, beginning today. As was previously the case, independent contractors and unpaid volunteers do not need to complete I-9 forms. The I-9 form verifies both the employee’s identity and work authorization, and employees must show an original document or a combination of documents from the USCIS list of acceptable documents to accomplish this.
Still the Same:
- The list of acceptable documents are still the same.
- Generally, employees cannot use expired documents.
- Generally, employees cannot use Receipts, showing that a work authorization document was applied for, but not yet received.
- It is a 2-page form (instead of the old 1 page form). The employee’s name has to be entered on the top line of 2nd page.
- I-9 Form, instructions, and list of acceptable documents are 9 pages in total, and employers must give employees all 9 pages. The complete I-9 package is attached here, and can be downloaded here:http://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
- There is a new Handbook for Employers, with new images of acceptable documents and clarifications on frequently asked questions about how to complete the I-9 form. Page 23 of the Handbook has new guidance on how to handle name and identity changes. The new Handbook is attached here, and can be downloaded here: http://www.uscis.gov/i-9.
- Section 1 (the employee section) cannot be pre-populated, even if the employer uses an electronic I-9 system, and even if the employee provides the information that is used to pre-populate it.
- The employer’s contact information in Section 2 can be pre-populated, but not the document verification portion of Section 2.
- Employees can complete Section 1 upon acceptance of the job offer, even if it is before their first day of employment.
- The document verification portion of Section 2 has to be completed within 3 days after their first day of employment. So, the first day of employment is not counted toward the 3-day completion rule.
- Employees with temporary work authorization (F-1 OPT’s, EAD’s, H-1B’s, L-1’s, TN’s, etc.) have to provide additional information in Section 1, including their foreign passport number and their I-94 number.
- Employers may have to record additional information from employees who provide a List A document. For example, if an employee is in F-1 OPT (Optional Practical Training) status and has an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) to show work authorization, the employer will now have to record information both about: (1) the foreign passport and I-94 showing the F-1 status, and (2) information about the EAD card. As another example, if the employee is an F-1 student working in F-1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training) status, the employer will have to record information about both: (1) the foreign passport showing F-1 status, and (2) information for the I-20 form, such as the SEVIS number and program end date.
- An employee’s social security number is optional, unless the employer is registered with e-verify, in which case it is required.
- Employees cannot use P.O. Boxes for addresses.
- Only employees living in bordering communities in Canada and Mexico can use foreign addresses.
- Employee’s email address and telephone number is optional, at the employee’s option. The employer cannot require it. The USCIS will use this information to contact the employee if there is any mismatch between identity and social security numbers, for example.
- Employers do not have to re-verify a greencard that expires.
- Print and maintain the I-9 form as a double-sided form so that the pages do not get separated and lost.
- Only complete this new form for newly hired or re-hired, paid employees, and for employees requiring re-verification. Employers do not need to complete new forms for existing employees (except those requiring re-verification).
- When re-verifying an employee, use Section 3 of the new I-9 form and staple it to the old I-9 form.
- If an employer needs to complete a new form for an existing employee to correct a mistake on an old I-9, the new I-9 form should be used and stapled to the old I-9 form.
- Employers using electronic systems to complete I-9 forms should ensure that the system is using the new version of the form and that Section 1 and the document verification portion of Section 2 do not get pre-populated.
- The USCIS is offering free webinars on completing the new I-9. More information (including available dates and times) can be found here: http://www.uscis.gov/I-9Central.
If you have any questions about the new I-9 form, please contact Berin Romagnolo.
This Alert is provided for information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. According to Mass. SJC Rule 3:07, this material may be considered advertising. ©2013 Posternak Blankstein & Lund LLP. All rights reserved.