Today, July 17, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a new Form I-9 to replace the prior form which it released back in late January of this year. For now, employers will have a 60-day grace period, giving them the option to use the updated form (Rev. 07/17/17 N) or continue using the previous Form I-9 (Rev. 11/14/2016 N) until September 17, 2017. As of September 18, 2017, however, employers must use the updated form for the initial employment verification for all new hires, as well as any applicable employment re-verifications. All prior versions of the Form I-9 will no longer be valid. The new Form I-9 has an expiration date of August 31, 2019.
Initially, the planned revisions to the Form I-9 were primarily meant to address USCIS’ proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, which was originally set to go into effect on July 17, 2017. Under the proposed rule, a foreign passport and Form I-94 indicating entrepreneur parole would be considered acceptable documentation for a foreign entrepreneur to use for employment eligibility verification purposes. However, with the Trump administration’s freeze on all new regulations, the effective date for the International Entrepreneur Rule has been pushed back until March 14, 2018. Despite the delayed effective date for the proposed rule, the USCIS has still implemented a number of revisions to the form.
The good news for employers is that the current changes are relatively minor and should not have a major impact on the hiring and employment verification process. A summary of the revisions to the new Form I-9 appears below.
Revisions to the Form I-9 instructions:
- The anti-discrimination and privacy act notices on the instructions are revised to change the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-related Unfair Employment Practices to its new name, “Immigrant and Employee Rights Section”.
- The phrase “the end of” is removed from the phrase “the first day of employment”.
Revisions related to the List of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9:
- The Consular Report of Birth Abroad (“Form FS-240”) has been added as a new “List C” document. Employers completing Form I-9 online are now able to select Form FS-240 from the drop-down menus available in List C of Section 2 and Section 3. E-Verify users are also able to choose Form FS-240 when creating cases for employees who have presented this document for Form I-9.
- All certifications of report of birth issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545, Form DS-1350 and Form FS-240) are now combined into one selection within List C.
- As a result of the combination, all List C documents (with the exception of the Social Security card) are now renumbered.
According to a press release issued by the USCIS, in an attempt to make the revised Form I-9 more user friendly, all of the latest changes to the form will be included in a revised Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274).
Although the changes to Form I-9 are minimal, with the new administration’s heightened immigration enforcement, employers should consider reviewing their I-9 procedures and records to ensure compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act (“IRCA”). If you have questions about the new Form I-9 or I-9 compliance issues, please contact the Bond Immigration Practice Group.