Beginning Jan. 22, employers must use the new version of Form I-9 for checking employment eligibility of new hires and reverifying eligibility of employees with expired employment authorization.

Key points:

  • Employers who have not yet switched to the new form should do so no later than Jan. 22. After Jan. 21, all previous versions will be invalid.
  • The new version, dated Nov. 14, has additional fields and additional instructions and is a smart form that is easier to fill out electronically.

Background: The new version of Form I-9, released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in November, contains drop-down menus and calendars, embedded instructions at each field, and additional prompts to verify that information is filled out correctly. Among other features intended to reduce paperwork errors, the button “Click to Finish” at the end of each page prompts the form to check to ensure that all fields were filled in. The form also automatically populates certain fields based on information entered in other fields.

Employers must complete Form I-9 each time they hire a person to perform labor or services in the U.S. in return for wages or other remuneration. Though employers do not submit this form to the government, they must retain a Form I-9 for each employee for three years after the date of hire or one year after the employee’s employment ends, whichever is later. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducts audits of employers’ Forms I-9 and if errors are found, may impose significant fines ranging from $216 to $2,156 per employee.

BAL Analysis: The new version of the Form I-9 is available on the USCIS website. Human resources personnel should make sure their companies have transitioned to the new version. In addition to being easier to fill out electronically, the new version also removes the requirement that foreign nationals who are authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and their foreign passport in Section 1 of the form. However, the new Form I-9 does not require that employers or employees provide any new information and does not alter the list of documents an employee may present to demonstrate work authorization.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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