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Form I-9 to Verify Workers for U.S. Employment Revised

Federal law requires every U.S. employer to complete a Form I-9 for each new hire, verifying each employee's identity and authorization to work in the United States. Recently this form was revised to include on the form and in the instructions the addition of several countries with recent name changes. As an employer, learn more about using this form.

Since Nov. 6, 1986, federal law has required every U.S. employer to complete a Form I-9 for each new hire, verifying each employee’s identity and authorization to work in the United States.

On Jan. 31, 2020, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of a new version of Form I–9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The new Form I-9 (cited as version date “Rev. 10/21/2019") is available to download from the USCIS website. A Spanish-language version of the new Form I–9, for use in Puerto Rico only, is also available.

What’s different about the revised Form I-9?

The USCIS made minor changes to the form and its instructions. In the updated Form I-9, Eswatini and North Macedonia have been added to the Country of Issuance field in Section 1 and the foreign passport issuing authority field in Section 2, per those countries' recent name changes. These changes are only visible when completing the fillable Form I-9 on a computer.

USCIS updated the following in the separate form instructions:

  • Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer
  • Updated USCIS website addresses
  • Provided acceptable document clarifications
  • Updated the process for requesting the paper Form I-9
  • Updated the Department of Homeland Security Privacy Notice

The prior version of Form I-9 (cited as version date “Re. 07/17/2017 N”) becomes obsolete effective April 30, 2020.

What employers should know?

Employers must provide employees with a copy of the full instructions with the Form I-9 no later than the first day of work for pay and not before accepting an offer of employment. Employers must ensure that all Form I-9s are properly completed and retained in compliance with applicable USCIS requirements.

Failure to comply with Form I-9 requirements can lead to civil and criminal penalties.

Tammy Tyler

Tammy Tyler is an employment law compliance manager at Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services.

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