On July 17, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published yet another version of the Form I-9. Although the anticipated revision was in preparation for the “International Entrepreneur Rule,” which was postponed by the Department of Homeland Security to allow public comment regarding a proposal to rescind the rule altogether, USCIS decided to continue with its planned Form I-9 release to address a few other needed updates. The following five things are what you need to know about the updated Form I-9[i].
- Change in Acceptable Documents: List C of acceptable documents was revised to include Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, which is issued by the Department of State to certain individuals born overseas to a U.S. citizen parent. Although Form FS-240 has been in use, the revision should help employers who were previously told it was not an acceptable document to establish employment authorization. Further, USCIS combined all forms issued by the Department of State that report a birth into one section. Accordingly, List C numbers 2 to 3 were combined with the added Form FS-240 into one section. As a result, List C now has 7 sections, not 8.
- Form I-9 Instructions Clarify Timing: USCIS removed the time of day requirement in connection with Form I-9 timelines. Specifically, the instructions used to require the completion of Section 1 and the presentation of Form I-9 document requirements by individuals employed for less than 3 days by the end of the first day of employment. Now, the instructions state “by the first day of employment.” As such, employers may want to revisit their own I-9 policies and procedures to ensure Section 1 is completed no later than when the employee starts work for pay.
- OSC is now IER: The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (“OSC”) which investigates and prosecutes unfair documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process and retaliation under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act changed its name to the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (“IER”). The change was made to resolve confusion regarding another federal government agency with the same acronym and similar name. The Form I-9 now reflects the name change and has IER on the top of the form.
- Compliance: Employers may use the revised version of Form I-9 this point moving forward or may continue to use Form I-9 with a revision date of 11/14/16 until September 17, 2017. As of September 18, 2017, Form I-9 with a revision date of 07/17/17 must be used. To ensure compliance with the law, employers will need to ensure all offices and locations throughout the U.S. are informed of the new Form I-9, the deadline of acceptable versions, and, the new list of acceptable documents.
- Updated M-274 I-9 Handbook: USCIS updated the M-274 I-9 Handbook to reflect Form I-9’s updates. Further, USCIS delivered the handbook in a new online format in addition to their PDF version. This online format provides selectable table of contents which allows an individual to select a chapter or subsections including a “Table of Changes” section.