Employers Required to Use the Newly-Revised Form I-9

On March 8, 2013, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published the long-awaited revised Form I-9, which can be accessed here. What this means to employers is the following:

  • Effective March 8, 2013, employers may (and should) begin using the newly revised Form I-9 for all new hires and re-verifications. Though use of the March 2013 revision is not yet mandatory, employers are urged to begin using the latest version immediately.
  • Effective May 8, 2013, employers must only use the newly revised Form I-9. Employers who continue to use the August 2009 version on or after May 8, 2013 will no longer be in compliance, for which an employer could face penalties.
  • Employers are not required to complete a new Form I-9 for current employees if a properly completed Form I-9 is already on file.

To confirm whether your company is using the most current edition of the Form I-9, look for the form revision date. The revision date (03/08/2013) is located in the lower left corner of each page of the Instructions and of the Form (and in the upper right corner of the first page of the Instructions).

The most obvious changes are in the length of the form. The new Instructions are more than twice as long as in the prior version, and provide more detailed guidance and direction for both employees and employers. The new Form is also twice as long two full pages with the first page for the employee to complete, and the second page for the employer to complete. As a reminder, it is always the employers responsibility to ensure that the entire form is fully and accurately completed, by both the employee and the employer.

According to the USCIS, improvements to Form I-9 include new fields, reformatting to reduce errors, and clearer instructions to both employees and employers. While we acknowledge the introduction of new fields, substantial reformatting and expanded instructions, whether or not these changes will actually reduce errors certainly remains to be seen.

A Spanish version of Form I-9 is available, but is only for use in Puerto Rico. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories may use the Spanish version for reference only, but must complete the English version of the Form I-9.