Restaurant and other employers will soon be required to use a revised version of the government’s I-9 form when hiring new employees.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, published its new version of the form Nov. 14. Beginning Jan. 22, 2017, all U.S. employers must start using it. Employers can use the current version, dated March 8, 2013, until Jan. 21. After that, they must use the form dated Nov. 14, 2016.
I-9 forms are used to verify an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States.
The USCIS said the revised three-page form will be easier to complete on a computer. It also is designed to reduce confusion and will help employers avoid technical errors that could result in hefty fines. The changes include:
- Prompts to ensure information is entered correctly. It will notify the user of any missing fields, dates inputted incorrectly and social security numbers that are missing a digit.
- Improved naming convention. Employees now only need to provide “other last names used” rather than “all other names” used. This is expected to avoid possible discrimination issues and protect privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
- A dedicated area for additional information. Employers currently provide this in the margins of the form.
Other enhancements include:
- Drop-down lists and calendars.
- Embedded instructions that pop up when the cursor hovers over each field.
- Instructions separate from the form. Employers are still required to present the instructions to employees completing the form.
- Buttons that allow users to access instructions electronically, print the form, and clear the form to start over.
- A QR code that’s generated once the form gets printed. This can streamline and facilitate auditor reviews.
The USCIS said employers must remember that the revised I-9 form must still be printed out so employees and/or their preparers can sign them. They can be stored on- or off-site in a single format or combination of formats, such as paper, microfilm or microfiche, or electronically.
Go to the USCIS website to learn more about the changes to the I-9 form.