On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the long-awaited new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The form, expanded from 1 to 2 pages, is available for immediate use by employers.   Employers have a 60 day grace period and may continue to use previously accepted versions, (Rev.02/02/09)N and (Rev. 08/07/09)Y, until May 7, 2013.  After May 7, 2013, all employers must use the revised Form I-9 for each new employee hired in the United States.  This includes employers utilizing electronic I-9 verification systems.  Employers should not complete a new I-9 for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I‑9 on file.

The new version includes the following details:

  • The layout of the form has been expanded to 2 pages.
  • The instructions have also been expanded and include more detailed information on the identity and work authorization documents an employer may accept.
  • New data fields have been added, including an employee’s foreign passport information, telephone number and email address.  Similar to the social security number field in section 1, providing the telephone number and/or email address is voluntary.  However, employers using E‑Verify must require the employee to complete the social security number field in section 1.

In addition to the expanded form the instructions now run 7 pages.  The USCIS also released its updated M‑274, Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I‑9 which provides employers with instructions for completing the form and complying with the applicable rules in a svelte 66 page booklet.  Moreover, in the government’s regulatory supporting statement, USCIS estimates that between the employee and the employer it will take approximately 30 minutes to prepare the form.

For employers this means they need to devote the time and resources necessary to incorporate the revised Form I-9 into their employment compliance procedures.  If an employer is utilizing an electronic I‑9 system, now is a good time to review the system’s compliance with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rule for Electronic Signature and Storage of Form I‑9 which modified the regulations to include specific requirements for electronic storage and audit trails for creating, completing, updating, modifying, altering or correcting an electronic Form I‑9.