USCIS Announces Revisions to Form Used to Verify Employees' Eligibility to Work

March 29, 2012

FormI-9Section1_03302012.jpgThe Employment Eligibility Verification Form, known as the I-9, will soon get a facelift from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The immigration agency has requested input from the public on proposed revisions to the form used by employers when they hire a new worker. The form asks for basic information confirming a new employee's identity and legal authorization to work in the United States. The proposed changes would expand the instructions included with the form and would solicit additional identifying information from employees. The public comment period began on March 27 and continues through May 29.

The I-9 form is critical for employers to establish that they have verified their employees' eligibility to work. Employers can face monetary and even criminal penalties for employing undocumented workers. The I-9 is possibly the most widely-used immigration form, since every employee, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, must complete one, and employers must keep them on file for a specified period of time. The form is not filed with USCIS or any other agency, but must be available if requested by immigration authorities. Employers are responsible for collecting and examining identification documents for their employees, and keeping copies on file with the I-9 form.

All employees hired after November 6, 1986, who are working in the physical territory of the United States, must fill out an I-9 form on or before the day they start work. Independent contractors and individuals directly employed by a contractor do not need to complete form I-9 with any employer that retains them as a contractor. Employers have three days from the day they receive a completed form from an employee to complete their portion of the form.

Employees provide identifying information in the form's Section 1. This includes their full legal name, date of birth, and address. A social security number may be optionally provided, unless the employer uses the E-Verify system. If necessary, they must also supply an alien registration number, admission number, or employment authorization status.

The changes to the I-9 form proposed by USCIS would add extra instructions to assist employees and employers in completing all required fields. It would also change the layout of the form and add new fields to collect additional employee information. Employees may optionally supply their telephone number and e-mail address on the revised form, and they can also provide a foreign passprot number and I-94 admission number if applicable.

Employers must inspect and verify certain documentation provided by the employee. The purpose of the documentation is to provide evidence of the employee's identity and work eligibility. USCIS includes a list of acceptable documentation. An employee can submit one document from "List A" or one document each from Lists B and C. List A documents demonstrate both identity and work authorization, and they include a U.S. passport or a foreign passport with an appropriate visa attached. List B documents confirm identity, such as a driver's license or other official identification. List C documents demonstrate work eligibility and include a Social Security card or birth certificate.

The New York immigration lawyers at Samuel C. Berger, P.C. help immigrants seeking visas to come to, or remain in, the United States. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys today, contact us online or at (212) 380-8117.

More Blog Posts:

USCIS Launches Initiative to Promote Immigrant Entrepreneurship, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, March 1, 2012

Low-Income New Jersey Immigrants Fight Wage Theft, Other Violations of Workplace Laws, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, February 9, 2012

USCIS Plans to Expand Its "Self Check" Program Nationwide, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, December 29, 2011

Photo credit: Form I-9, USCIS [Public domain].