Employers should continue using expired Form I-9 until new version is available

April 01, 2016 - by: Holly Jones 0 COMMENTS

The current revision of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 expired March 31. However, USCIS has instructed employers to continue using this version of the form until a new revision is approved.

Meanwhile, revisions to Form I-9 have been proposed, but the new form cannot be finalized and adopted until the public has had the opportunity to submit comments on the changes.

Proposed changes would greatly simplify I-9 process, reduce technical errors

The revisions to the form, if adopted, will provide significant assistance to employers and employees who complete the electronic (PDF) version of Form I-9.

USCIS notes that despite the agency’s continued efforts at improving both the form and the instructions, employers and employees continue to make numerous errors when filling out the form. The agency has been asked to further revise and improve the form to incorporate “functionality and assistance tools” to help mitigate and/or prevent these errors.

Proposed improvements and revisions include:

  • Introduction of “hover text,” which will provide abbreviated instructions for completing fields on the PDF version of the form.
  • “Helper text,” which provides further, more in-depth instructions when the user clicks a “?” icon on a particular field.
  • Drop-down menus, some of which will update the possible choices based on selections made in related sections. For example, the drop-down list of List A verification documents will change, listing only the documents relevant to the citizenship or immigration status selected by the employee.
  • Field validation and error messages, which will prompt the user to make corrections when the information entered does not follow the form’s requirements or formatting or when mandatory fields are left blank. These messages will also provide next-step instructions—for example, prompting the employee and employer to print, sign, and date the form once each section is completed.
  • Revising the “Other Names Used” field to require only other last names.
  • Instructions advising employees that the Social Security number field may be left blank if the employer does not participate in E-Verify.
  • Clarification of the Preparer and/or Translator fields to provide better instruction on who is to complete this section and to allow for multiple preparers/translators.
  • Pop-up alerts when an eligibility or identification document (List A, B, or C) presented does not correlate with the selected citizenship or immigration status noted in Section 1.
  • Automatic population of information fields (for example, document numbers) that use the same data between different form sections.
  • Controls to prevent the use of expired documents.

To review the proposed changes and, if desired, submit a comment, visit https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-06883. Once available, the new form and revised instructions will be published on the USCIS website. Until that time, as noted, employers should continue to use the current (expired) form.

About Holly Jones:
Holly Jones, Legal Editor at BLR--Business and Legal Resources, has written and edited countless alerts, articles, newsletters, and manuals on various topics of labor and employment law. Among the products she has edited areHR Guide to Employment Law: A Practical Compliance Reference, Fifty Employment Laws in Fifty States, Employers State Law Alert, and Wage & Hour Compliance: Practical Solutions for HR. Holly is a graduate of Vanderbilt University Law School and a licensed attorney in the state of Tennessee.
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