Legal Alerts

New Form I-9 Required For Employee Verification


The document that employers must complete to verify employee identification and work authorization, Form I-9, was released in new form today. The new version takes effect immediately. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided a 60-day grace period to stop using prior acceptable versions, with dates of 02/02/09 and 08/07/09 in the lower right corner. After May 7, 2013, all employers must use the new version of Form I-9, dated 03/08/13.

Employers should not complete the new Form I-9 for an existing employee if a properly completed Form I-9 already is on file.

The new form still contains Section 1 for the employee, Section 2 for the employer, and Section 3 for reverification/rehire of employees, but contains significant changes within those sections. Most notably, the form has gone from one page to two pages, with the employee completing page one and the employer completing page two. Warnings of signing under penalty of perjury are more pronounced. The instructions have increased from three pages to six pages, with significant expansion of the instructions for reverifying employee work authorization and accepting receipts for documents. The new instructions for completing Form I-9 encourage employers to review M-274, Handbook for Employers. As of this writing, however, the link to this document on the USCIS webpage had been removed and a new M-274 consistent with the new Form I-9 had not been issued. The List of Acceptable Documents has not changed the types of documents that may be presented, but more expressly explains documents such as Form I-94 and restricted Social Security cards.

In Section 1 of the newly issued Form I-9, employees are now asked to provide an email address and telephone number so that the Department of Homeland Security may more easily contact them. Providing this information is optional, as indicated in the instructions. The form, however, does not make clear that employees are not required to provide this information. Employers should provide a copy of the instructions, as well as the Form I-9, to employees when they complete this section.

Another significant change was made for employees who indicate that they are "authorized to work." This status applies most commonly to foreign nationals who have permission to work in the United States temporarily, and does not apply to U.S. citizens, nationals or lawful permanent residents. Employees who indicate that they are "authorized to work" must provide an Alien Registration Number/USCIS Number. If they have not received an Alien Registration Number/USCIS Number, they must provide an admission number and foreign passport number. Admission numbers typically are found on Form I-94, issued to foreign nationals upon entering the United States, or issued as part of approval notices from USCIS. Details of plans to eliminate the paper Form I-94 for foreign nationals entering the United States have not been released, and the effect of these plans for completing Form I-9 remains uncertain.

In Section 2, the new form expressly requires a document title, issuing authority and document number for each document recorded, as well as an expiration date if it applies. Also, if employers make copies of documents that employees present, the new Form I-9 requires employers to retain those copies with the Form I-9. As always, Forms I-9 should be retained separately from personnel files and in a secure location.

Section 3 has been renamed "Reverification and Rehires." Employers are expressly instructed not to reverify any List B (identification) documents or permanent resident cards. Reverifying or rehiring employees must be completed on the newest version of Form I-9. Therefore, reverification of any employee as of March 8, 2013 must be completed on the Form I-9 dated 03/08/13.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency responsible for enforcing Forms I-9 and levying fines against employers who fail to correctly complete Form I-9, recommends annual training for employers. If you would like further information, or to schedule a Form I-9 training, please contact DeAnne Hilgers at or 612-371-2462.

You may find the new Form I-9 here

The information provided above is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances and you are urged to consult a Lindquist & Vennum LLP attorney or one of your own choosing concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

IRS Circular 230 Notice: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that, except to the extent expressly provided to the contrary, any federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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