New Form I-9: Employers Must Use It Now



What Is New?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced the new Form I-9, on March 8. Employers must use the Form I-9 to verify an employee’s work authorization in the US.  Employers should begin using the new form immediately for all new hires, re-hires and reverification.  The new Form I-9 is a two-page document with seven pages of instructions. The flow and content of the form are similar to the previous version; however, the revision provides additional space and is designed to minimize errors in form completion.  The key revisions to Form I-9 include:

  • Adding data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable) and telephone and e-mail addresses.
  • Improving the form’s instructions.
  • Revising the layout of the form, and expanding the form from one to two pages (not including the form instructions and the List of Acceptable Documents).

USCIS has also revised the Handbook for Employers, Form M-274 to complement the instructions and format of the new Form I-9.

When Must It Be Implemented?

Employers must use the new Form I-9 immediately; however, USCIS recognizes that some employers may need additional time in order to make necessary updates to their business processes to allow for use of the new Form I-9.  Prior Form I-9 versions will no longer be accepted after May 7, 2013. Using prior versions of the Form I-9 after May 7, 2013, will cause the employer to be subject to fines. The new Form I-9 will contain a revision date of 03/08/13. The revision date is located on the bottom left-hand corner of the form.

Employers should use the implementation of the new form as an opportunity to ensure that company policies and procedures are current and compliant. Best practices include a written policy regarding Form I-9 rules and procedures, yearly audits and training, and appointing and I-9 czar for your company.

What Are the Penalties?

I-9 inspections by the government are at an all-time high.  The number of I-9 audits multiplied over the past decade, rising from almost none—just three in 2004—to 500 in 2008 and 3,004 in 2012.   For knowing violations, penalties range from $375-$16,000 per offense.   For paperwork violations, the fines range from $110 to $1,100 per violation.

Where To Get More Information?

The new form can be found at in English and Spanish (for use in Puerto Rico only).  To order USCIS forms, employers can call a toll-free number (1-800-870-3676).  In addition, there are several free webinars hosted by USCIS covering completion and implementation of the new form. The dates and times of the webinars are located on the I-9 Central portal



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