Last week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The revised form includes several notable improvements. One such improvement is a checkbox that employers enrolled in E-Verify may fill in to indicate they used the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) alternative electronic verification option to examine identity and employment authorization documents. USCIS will publish the new Form I-9 on August 1st, 2023. Coinciding with the rollout, the DHS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will end remote Form I-9 verification flexibilities on July 31st, 2023.
Brief Overview of Form I-9
Created under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification helps U.S. employers verify their workers’ identity and employment authorization. Employers must accurately complete a Form I-9 for each employee, whether they are citizens or noncitizens. In addition, employees must present acceptable documents that verify their identity and authorization to work in the U.S. Finally, employers must retain a Form I-9 for each employee for three years after the date of hire or one year after employment ends, whichever is later.
Changes to the New Form I-9
The most significant change introduced with the new Form I-9 is the checkbox that allows employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under the DHS’s new alternative documentation verification flexibilities. Other updates included in the new Form I-9 simplify and modernize the form. This makes it easier for employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of employees. These changes include:
- redesigning the new Form I-9 to be electronically fillable on tablets and mobile devices;
- turning Sections 1, “Preparer/Translator Certification,” and 3, “Reverification and Rehire,” into standalone supplements that employers may print and provide when necessary;
- adding additional documents to the “Lists of Acceptable Documents” page, including some acceptable receipts, and providing guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation;
- reducing Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet; and
- shortening the Form instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages.
USCIS will publish the new Form I-9 on August 1st, 2023, and it will include the 08/01/23 revision date. Employers may use the current Form I-9 with the revision date of 10/21/19 through October 31st, 2023. Starting November 1st, 2023, all employers must use the 08/01/23 form.
Remote Document Verification Flexibilities
Coinciding with the new Form I-9, the DHS announced its final rule authorizing optional remote alternatives for employers to examine Form I-9 documentation. The DHS will make the option available to employers on August 1st, 2023, when the new Form I-9 rolls out. Employers who participate in E-Verify and are in good standing will have the option to conduct verification electronically and through live video calling. Employers may still choose to physically examine Form I-9 documentation under the final rule.
Additionally, the DHS has the authority to conduct a pilot program offering remote examination to a broader category of employers. Based on data from the pilot program, the DHS will consider a permanent expansion of remote examination to employers beyond those that use E-Verify.