USCIS updates New Form I-9; what employers need to know

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In the United States, employers use Form I-9 for confirming their employees’ identity and employment authorization and it was recently updated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

“The newly updated Form I-9 contains myriad revisions to the form and its instructions to streamline these materials and reduce employer and employee burden associated with the form,” the federal agency said in a notice published on the Federal Register.

Here are the key changes to Form I-9:

1. Shorter sections: Reduced sections 1 and 2 to fit on one single-sided sheet. “Multiple fields were merged into fewer fields when possible,” wrote USCIS.

2. Preparer and/or Translator Certification (Supplement A): Supplement A is now a separate supplement that employers can easily give to employees to fill out and return.

3. Reverification and Rehire (Supplement B): Supplement B, which is used to verify the employee still has valid employment authorization, has also been moved to a separate, standalone document.

4. Terminology Changes: The term “alien authorized to work” in Section 1 has been replaced with “noncitizen authorized to work.” Additionally, the distinction between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work” has been clarified.

5. Improved Usability: The updated form is designed to be compatible with tablets and mobile devices, making it easier for employers and employees to fill out electronically.

6. Simplified Instructions: The length of instructions has been reduced from 15 to 8 pages.

7. Anti-Discrimination Measures: The notice at the top of Form I-9 has been updated to provide clearer guidance for employers on avoiding discrimination during the verification process.

8. Alternative Document Examination: The new Form I-9 includes a checkbox that employers can use to indicate when they’ve examined an employee’s documentation using a DHS-authorized alternative procedure instead of the traditional in-person physical examination.

When they will go into effect?
It will be possible for employers to start using the updated Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) on August 1, 2023. However, the previous version (Rev. 10/21/19) will remain in effect until October 31, 2023. The older version will then be deemed obsolete.

Form I-9s must be completed and retained properly, and not doing so may result in civil or even criminal penalties, so make sure you’re familiar with the new version and its instructions to avoid any difficulties.

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