The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released a new Form I-9, for Employment Eligibility Verification. Starting on January 22, 2017, employers must use the revised Form I-9, with an edition date of 11/14/2016, to verify the identity and work eligibility of new employees. Previous versions of the form are no longer valid.
The revised form generates QR (Quick Response) codes that will capture form data. New drop-down selections have also been included to cover various document titles in Section 2 of the form. As a reminder, newly hired employees must complete and sign Section 1 no later than the first day of employment. Employers should review Section 1 to ensure the employee completed it properly. If there are any errors in Section 1, the employer should request the employee to make necessary corrections and initial and date the corrections. The employer must complete Section 2 by examining evidence of identity and employment authorization within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment. If an individual is hired for less than 3 business days, than Section 2 must be completed no later than the end of the first day of employment. The newest version of the I-9 form may be downloaded from the USCIS website here.
At the time of publishing this alert, no updates have been made to the Handbook for Employers (M-274), the USCIS publication that provides detailed guidance on completing Form I-9. The Department of Homeland Security has indicated that revisions to the M-274 handbook are underway.
E-Verify Records Disposal
Employers using E-Verify for more than 10 years are encouraged to download the new Historic Records Reports from the USCIS website by March 31, 2017, before the USCIS disposes transaction records that are over 10 years old in April 2017. As best practice, we recommend that employers retain these E-verify records for any individuals that were created more than 10 years ago if the individuals are still employed, or left employment but are within the records retention period. Employers are required to retain an employee’s completed Form I-9 for as long as the individual works for the employer. Once the individual’s employment has terminated, the employer must retain the I-9 form for three years after the date of hire, or for one year after the termination date, whichever is later. For detailed instructions on downloading historic reports, please see the USCIS's online guide here.