The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS” – what some people might still think of as the INS) has updated the Form I-9 that all new hires must complete to prove they have a legal right to work in the U.S. The new form, which is available here, has an expiration date of August 31, 2019. It may be used now, but must be used starting September 18, 2017.
Current employees who completed the prior form need not complete a new one.
The changes to the new form are minor, and do not change an employer’s obligations to ensure that the people working for the company both are who they say they are and that they have a legal right to work in the U.S. Citizenship comes with a bundle of rights, including the rights to be here, to work here, to vote and to hold certain government jobs. The Form I-9 requires employers to check certain documentation that verifies both the individual’s identity and his or her right to work in the U.S. (which implies that the individual is here legally).
Employees must still complete the top portion of the form on their first day of work, and provide the requested documentation by their third day of work. Employers cannot required any particular documentation (for example, cannot require only a drivers’ license and social security card), but must accept any documentation listed on the I-9 instructions that looks genuine and related to the employee named. Employment can (and should) be conditioned on a new hire’s ability to demonstrate they are authorized to work in the U.S. This condition must be imposed on all new hires, whether natural-born citizens, naturalized citizens, or aliens with authorization to work in the U.S.
I-9 forms should not be stored in a personnel file since they identify the individual’s citizenship status and potentially his or her national origin. All of the company employees’ I-9 forms can be kept together either alphabetically or chronologically—whichever makes it easier to find an employee’s form should it be needed.
Employers can face fines and penalties for utilizing incorrect forms, or not having these forms at all. Be sure you understand your company’s obligations and that you have procedures in place to implement them.