On Jan. 31, 2020, USCIS published the Form I-9 Federal Register notice announcing a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that the Office of Management and Budget approved on Oct. 21, 2019. This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020.
The form itself is substantively unchanged, and some of the instructions have actually been clarified .
The notice provides employers additional time to make necessary updates and adjust their business processes. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form.
USCIS made the following changes to the form and its instructions:
Revised the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the Issuing Authority field (when selecting a foreign passport) in Section 2 to add Eswatini and Macedonia, North per those countries’ recent name changes. (Note: This change is only visible when completing the fillable Form I-9 on a computer.)
- Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
- Updated USCIS website addresses
- Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9
- Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9
- Updated the DHS Privacy Notice
A revised Spanish version of Form I-9 with a version date of 10/21/2019 is available for use in Puerto Rico only.
The new version has a 10/21/19 revision date and can be used starting today, 1/31/2020, or you can continue to use the 07/17/17 N version until April 30, 2020. However, starting May 1, you may only use the new form. Penalties exist for using an outdated form. Remember that you don't need to update forms for existing employees, just use the new form for new hires after today. If you use an electronic vendor for your I-9s, whether it be a stand-alone product or included in your HRIS, pay close attention in the coming days and weeks to make sure that the form has been updated and is included in your software.
- One common question we get very regularly is about authorized representatives for Section 2 completion (in the case of remote workers). The rule itself is not any different, but the USCIS has clarified the instructions as follows:
“You may designate an authorized representative to act on your behalf to complete Section 2. An authorized representative can be any person you designate to complete and sign Form I-9 on your behalf. You are liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process, including any violations of the employer sanctions laws committed by the person designated to act on your behalf.”
- The USCIS has also clarified that you don't need to fill in "N/A" for unused fields in Section 2.
- A helpful tool in the instructions is found on 8-11 where there are abbreviations listed for each possible document. Don't guess - check the instructions!
- If you complete Section 3 for rehires or reverifications, do it on the new form and staple it to the previously completed old form. It's just cleaner that way.
I encourage you to carefully read over the updated form and instructions for information that pertains directly to your business or the types of documents you see. You might learn something, or at least reaffirm what you already know!