All U.S. employers are responsible for ensuring their new hires are authorized to work in the United States, by reviewing proper employee documents and completing the Form I-9. The I-9 does not get sent in to any agency, but must be kept on file for inspection upon request by the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Labor, or the Department of Justice. An employer must keep an I-9 on file for each of its employees until the later of three (3) years after the employee’s date of hire, or one (1) year after the employee’s termination. A “new hire” does not include independent contractors, temporary employees or employees on loan, anyone performing domestic work in a private home on a sporadic or intermittent basis, or employees not physically working on U.S. soil.
A revised version of the mandatory Form I-9 was released on March 8, 2013, which may be found here. Older versions of the form will be accepted until May 7, 2013, after which point employers must use the latest version. Employers are not required to update any existing Forms I-9 already on file to the latest version. Further, a Spanish version of the Form I-9 exists, but is for reference only, unless the employer and the employee are located in Puerto Rico. Employers in the 50 States may give their Spanish-speaking employees copies of the Spanish I-9, but the employer and employee must ultimately sign and execute the English version.
Along with an updated Form I-9, the USCIS has also released a handbook for employers on how to properly complete the form, as well as a website where employers can seek answers to their I-9 questions. The main changes to the form are summarized in the notice published by the USCIS in the Federal Register:
II. Changes to Form
The newly revised Form I–9 makes several improvements designed to minimize errors in form completion. The key revisions to Form I–9 include:
- Adding data fields, including the employee’s foreign passport information (if applicable) and telephone and email addresses.
- Improving the form’s instructions.
- Revising the layout of the form, expanding the form from one to two pages (not including the form instructions and the List of Acceptable Documents).
For employees whose work authorization is subject to an expiration date (i.e. nonimmigrants), their authorization must be re-verified on or before the date that their work authorization expires. In those instances, employers do not have to complete a new I-9, but may instead complete Section 3 of the existing new form.