The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently implemented significant revisions to Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. Effective November 1, 2023, all employers hiring new employees must complete the most current version of the Form I-9, (08/01/2023 Edition). The prior version of the form, which has been in effect since 2016, will no longer be considered valid.
What Are the Changes?
Given the number of revisions made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, employers should familiarize themselves with the new version of the I-9. The revised Form I-9 is notably more concise with the instructions being reduced to eight pages and the form now a single page form. Unfortunately, no questions or requests for substantive information were eliminated. For example, the Preparer/Translator Certification components currently found in Section 1 and Section 3 have been relocated into distinct Supplement A and B, to be used by employers as needed.
One of the significant enhancements is the ability to complete the updated Form I-9 online using mobile devices. Consequently, certain features have been modified or removed to facilitate easier form downloads. The update also introduces a checkbox for employers utilizing E-Verify to indicate whether they have reviewed Form I-9 documents remotely under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than an in person, physical examination.
Furthermore, the Lists of Acceptable Documents now provide improved guidance, including certain acceptable receipts, instructions, and links to information regarding automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation. The form now also incorporates definitions of the key stakeholders in the Form I-9 process, along with simplified instructions for each party’s role in completing their section.
What Does This Mean?
These changes should enhance convenience and accessibility by enabling easy completion on tablets and mobile devices. Allowing employers to incorporate E-Verify as a verification process streamlines and simplifies the employment process for both sides.
The introduction of Supplements A and B is anticipated to reduce user confusion and errors, in doing so enhancing the overall efficiency of the process. However, the revised I-9 is still likely to present multiple challenges for users. Potential areas of concern include:
- The updated Form I-9 offers a shorter transition period compared to previous versions, giving employers less time to refine and train their staff.
- While the modifications are aimed at simplification, the merging of certain fields could inadvertently lead to confusion.
- The form introduces new requirements for specific documents, which may raise concerns and challenges for both employees and employers.
- Despite its enhanced compatibility with mobile devices, it may not be compatible with some older versions of Adobe Reader or other PDF software, potentially resulting in formatting or printing issues.
By incorporating these changes and being mindful of some remaining challenges, HR professionals can prepare for a smooth transition to the updated Form I-9. If an employer uses an electronic onboarding software, the employer should confirm with their software provider that the new Form 1-9 version will be no later than November 1st. You can find comprehensive information about the updated form, including a downloadable PDF of the new Form I-9 here. Detailed instructions for completion are available here.
For comprehensive legal guidance and support, do not hesitate to reach out to Stall Legal. We are here to assist you with all your employment-related legal needs.