Understanding The New I-9 Form & How It Impacts Employers

There has been buzz about an upcoming new I-9 form since at least October of 2022. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of a new edition of the Form I-9, effective August 1, 2023, with a mandatory transition period ending on October 31, 2023. Most employers have embraced the changes with much enthusiasm.

Top Things to Notice about the New I-9 Form

When there is a modification or change to the Form I-9, it directly impacts employers striving for compliance. For this reason, it is critical for employers to be aware of the changes in the new I-9 form. Some of the top things to notice about this newest version include:

  1. Mandatory Use: Starting November 1, 2023, federal law mandates the use of the new I-9 form for both new hires and reverifications. There is no grace period for the use of the previous versions past October 31st 2023.
  2. Instructions Modified: The instructions for completing the form have been condensed from fifteen to eight pages. Some of the earlier guidance has been relocated to the USCIS Handbook for Employers M-274, available on the government’s I-9 Central website.
  3. Form Appearance: The mandatory Sections 1 and 2 of the form now appear on the same page.
  4. Elimination of N/A Text Requirement: The need to fill in “N/A” in fields that do not apply to the new hire has been eliminated.
  5. New Checkboxes: For qualifying employers who participate in E-Verify, they can now remotely examine employee documents. A new checkbox has been added to the Additional Information box in both Section 2 and Supplement B to indicate whether documents were examined remotely or through an authorized alternative procedure. This new option modernizes employment eligibility verification by allowing E‑Verify employers to remotely examine Form I-9 documents starting Aug. 1, 2023, provided they qualify and follow certain steps.
  6. Acceptable Documents Update: In the newest version of the Form I-9, the list of acceptable documents includes a summarization of when specific valid receipts can be accepted for List A, B, or C documents. It also includes a special statement announcing that the Department of Homeland Security will consider documents extended by the issuing authority to be unexpired.
  7. New Supplements A and B: In the previous I-9 form, a Preparer/Translator segment was included in Section 1. In the new version of the form, these details are captured separately as Supplement A. This supplement must be completed when a new hire asks for any assistance while completing their personal information in Section 1. For rehires and/or employment reverification scenarios, Section 3 of the new I-9 form no longer follows Section 2 but is instead included as Supplement B.

To navigate these changes effectively, we recommend utilizing the following resources:

  1. Revised USCIS Handbook for Employers M-274: This handbook provides all updated detailed instructions and guidance.
  2. I-9 Intelligence Digital Software: Consider using digital software for real-time compliance assistance in creating, storing, updating, and tracking your employee’s I-9 forms. I-9 software offers a full suite of tracking, reporting, and required action prompts for both I-9 and E-Verify compliance obligations to minimize your risk exposure and chance for fines.

Compliance Is Key

Even HR professionals who are familiar with the handbook will need to take time to orient themselves with the newest version of the Form I-9 and adapt to these changes. For those seeking additional support or guidance, reputable I-9 software companies are available for consultations to help you navigate the transition seamlessly.

Increasingly, more employers are turning to digital I-9 software to help them bridge the gap. Unlike the handbook, the software assists employers in real-time as they fill out the form, applying the new business rules of the Form I-9. The alerts and prompts from the system help call attention to possible compliance issues, such as blank or incomplete fields before the form is officially submitted and a compliance issue becomes a reality.

A perk to using this digital I-9 software is that it can work well in tandem with the USCIS handbook because it allows a degree of protection through real-time prompts and alerts, even when a manager is still learning the new system.

The new I-9 form is now here, and it is vital for employers to familiarize themselves with the changes and fully understand them. For those with a sense of trepidation about the new form or how to complete it, schedule a consultation with a reputable I-9 intelligence company to learn more about their digital software so I-9 compliance is attainable.

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