Just when you were getting used to your employment eligibility verification process, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is rolling out a new I-9 form with plenty of updates that are already taking effect.
Let’s go over the revisions to the verification process and the new I-9 updates you need to be aware of as an employer.
The latest Form I-9 update was released on Aug. 1, 2023, and all employers must use the new form by November 1. The updates are geared at simplifying and streamlining the verification process.
Here are all the changes you need to know about:
1. COVID-19 Guidelines Are Expiring
During the pandemic, USCIS introduced temporary Covid-19 flexibilities. Those parts of the I-9 process expired on July 31, 2023.
Those measures included not requiring a physical inspection of remote employees' documents, temporarily allowing expired List B documentation, and extending the amount of time employers had to complete forms.
2. Fill Out On Phone
The new version of the form can be completed on a mobile device now, making things a lot easier for remote employees.
Bonus tip: Looking for a way to get your I-9s completed faster and easier? You can use the Hourly app to send out any I-9 forms and the rest of your new hire forms, and track if they have been completed or not.
3. Don’t Need to Verify Docs in Person with E-Verify
If you enroll in E-Verify, you no longer need to verify documents in person.
If you aren’t enrolled in E-Verify, you are now able to remotely verify documents via live video.
4. Format Changes
Section 1 and Section 2 have been condensed, while Section 3 has become a supplement that employers only have to fill out if needed.
The instructions for the current form are also much shorter. The number of instructional pages has been cut from 15 to eight as part of the streamlining effort and to make instructions easier to follow.
5. New Acceptable Documents List
The list of acceptable documents for establishing identity has also been expanded. It now includes receipts for replacing identity documents—if an employee can’t find them.
The receipt should say the employee needs a replacement for a lost, stolen, or damaged document, not that they are applying for the document for the first time.
The list of documents that establish employees' identity includes:
- Driver’s license
- ID card issued by federal, state, or local government
- School ID card
- Voter’s registration card
- U.S. Military card
- Military dependent ID
- U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
- Native American tribal document
- Driver’s license issued by the Canadian government
For employees under 18, these additional forms of ID are also acceptable:
- School record or report card
- Hospital records
- Day-care or nursery record
Verifications are part of the labor laws all businesses need to follow and each list serves a different purpose.
The documents in List A establish identity and prove employment eligibility. So if your employee provides a document listed in List A, like a U.S. passport or permanent resident form (for noncitizens), that’s all you need to check.
Documents in List B only establish someone’s identity. The employee will also need to provide employment authorization documents from List C.
List C documents are employment eligibility documentation that is needed in addition to List B items.
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When To Use the New Form
Employers may start using the new form on Aug. 1 and use either the new or old forms until Oct. 31. After Nov. 1, only the new form may be used.
|August 1 through October 31||Use the old or new form.|
|Nov. 1 and on||Use only the new form.|
What Happens if You Don’t Complete an I-9 Within 3 Days?
If you don’t complete Form I-9 within three business days of hiring a new employee, you risk having to pay a fine. Workers can’t continue to work without a verified status and completed document inspection.
E-Verify participation makes the verification process easier for employers and employees by making it easier to meet the deadline.
If your employee can’t provide documentation (or a receipt showing they have applied for a new document) within three business days, you have two options. You can put them on administrative leave, or you can fire them.
These labor laws are strictly enforced by both DHS (the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) and ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement). You could face civil or criminal penalties if you repeatedly fail to submit your employee’s forms or don’t follow procedures.
Do I Ever Need to Update an Employee’s I-9?
You’ll need to update an employee’s I-9 if they are not a U.S. citizen and their documentation expires, if it’s been three years since they last worked for you, or if they legally changed their name.
If your employee is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you won’t need to reverify anything. You also don’t need to reverify List B documents for current employees even if the documents expire.
If your employee is not a U.S. citizen, you’ll need to update their I-9 if any of the documents that prove they are eligible to live and work in the U.S. expires.
When this happens, it’s known as re-verification, and you’ll have to fill out Supplement B.
This form should also be used if you rehire a former employee within three years or if they legally change their name. You need to hold on to old I-9 forms for three years anyway in order to be compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), so this rule doesn’t create any extra filing, at least.
The USCIS recommends reminding employees of upcoming expirations 90 days before any of their documents are set to expire.
Getting Help With the I-9 Updates
If all the new changes are clear as mud or you have a case that just doesn’t fit the guidelines, you can reach out to USCIS for help. Employers can call the USCIS at 888-464-4218, and employees can call 888-897-7781. You can also email for support at I-9Central@uscis.dhs.gov.
While there are a number of Form I-9 updates being introduced this year, the I-9 updates should make verifying work authorization simpler and a more streamlined digital experience for employers and workers.
With clearer instructions, the preparer of the I-9 forms should be able to show employees exactly what is needed, and there’s less information they need to fill out. They can also fill out the form from their mobile device now.
And your authorized representative can choose to verify documents on-site or with E-Verify if that’s easier for your organization.