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Form I-9 Finally Makes Its Appearance

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) just announced the long-awaited new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  Although the previous form expired on August 31, 2012, employers have continued using the previous form pending the issuance of the revised form.

As before, all U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States, including citizens and non-citizens. The form requires input from both the employee and employer (or an authorized representative of the employer). Although the new form is largely substantively the same, several stylistic changes were made in order to make it easier to read and more user-friendly.

For example, the instructions are clearer and there are new distinct data fields for employee information. The entire document consists of nine pages, with only two of these (pages 7 and 8) requiring completion. When providing the form to employees to fill out, however, it is important to provide the entire form so that they may read all instructions.

If your business maintains an electronic I-9 system, you should receive an update from your vendor about implementation. If you use paper versions, you can access the form here. It is a fillable PDF file, but may also be completed by hand. Despite only two pages requiring information, the form in its entirety should be kept on file.

Employers can start using the new form immediately, but must use it after May 7, 2013, as the old form will no longer be accepted after that date. Failure to use the new form could result in fines and penalties. Remember that required government forms are free, so you should never have to pay to be in compliance.

The USCIS provides in-depth detail about Form I-9, however government instruction is not legal advice. If you have any questions about Form I-9 or other required employment forms, contact the employment attorneys at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC.

This article is intended as a summary of newly enacted federal law and does not constitute legal advice.

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