News - April 2009

New Version of I-9 Form Issued by USCIS

As of April 3, 2009, employers should use the new version of the I-9 form for new employees.

The extension provides the public with an opportunity to submit comments for an additional 30 days. Written comments must be submitted on or before March 4, 2009.

By way of background, on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, USCIS issued an interim final rule that revises the list of acceptable documents for completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The rule includes a new version of the I-9 form, which will supersede prior versions. Both the new rule and form had been scheduled to go into effect on February 2, 2009. The effective date of the new form was then extended until April 3, 2009.

The changes to the I-9 form are as follows:

New Requirement that all Documents Must be Unexpired

Previously, a United States passport, either unexpired or expired, was acceptable as proof of both identity and employment authorization. The new rule introduces the requirement that all documents must be unexpired for purposes of I-9 compliance. The rule notes that this change was made due to agency concern with the unreliability of outdated photographs and its preference for documents with up-to-date security features. Documents that contain no specific expiration date, such as Social Security cards, are to be considered unexpired.

Changes to the Types of Acceptable Verification Documents

The new I-9 form contains a few new List A documents, which are acceptable to establish both identity and employment authorization. These include documents granted to Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FWM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), who, according to Compacts with the United States, are eligible for admission to the United States as nonimmigrants, and to reside and work here. Citizens of these countries will now present FSM or RMI passports, with evidence of their admission under the Compacts, and will no longer required to obtain a separate employment authorization document.

Three obsolete documents have been removed from the list of acceptable List A documents. These are Form I-688, Temporary Resident Card, and forms I-688A and I-688B, which are older versions of the Employment Authorization Card.

Employers will only need to use the new I-9 form for purposes of verifying eligibility of new employees or for reverification of the eligibility of current employees with expiring employment authorization documents. Employers will not need to complete new I-9 forms for existing employees.


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