Starting May 1, 2020, employers will be required to use the latest version of Form I-9 (dated 10/21/2019), which United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released earlier this year. The new Form applies to new hires only. Employers should not complete new Forms I-9 for current employees.
The new Form I-9 is available on USCIS’ website, along with an updated 15-page set of instructions and updated Handbook for Employers, a valuable resource for those handling Form I-9 issues.
The new Form I-9 and instructions include only minor changes, as outlined below:
Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per those countries’ recent name changes. This change is visible only when completing the fillable Form I-9 electronically.
- Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer;
- Updated USCIS website address;
- Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9;
- Updated the process for requesting paper Form I-9; and
- Updated the DHS Privacy Notice.
Note that on March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will relax requirements related to Form I-9 completion for certain employees during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional information is available here.
Given the increased enforcement of immigration-related laws in recent years, employers should use particular care when handling Form I-9 and other immigration-related employment processes and practices. Annual internal Form I-9 audits and periodic third party Form I-9 audits by qualified professionals are recommended. Many mistakes discovered during an audit can and should be corrected.