Deadline Approaching for Using “Smart” Form I-9

The new “Smart” Form I-9 has been released and the deadline for using the new form is quickly approaching. Employers may continue using the current version of Form I-9 until January 21, 2017. After January 21, all previous versions of the Form I-9 will be invalid, and employers will be required to use the new version – deemed the “Smart” Form I-9.

The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which is required for all new hires in the United States, is used to verify each employee’s identity and employment authorization. U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual hired for employment, including citizens and non-citizens. How does the new “Smart” Form I-9 differ from the previous version?

Changes to the Form I-9

The new form is designed to address points of confusion that arise for both employees and employers, specifically aimed to help reduce technical errors for which employers may be fined, and include:

  • Drop-down lists and calendars.
  • Embedded instructions for completing each field.
  • Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over.
  • Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators. If the employee does not use a preparer or translator to assist in completing section 1, he or she must indicate so on a new check box labeled, “I did not use a preparer or translator.”
  • The requirement that workers provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used. This is to avoid possible discrimination issues and to protect the privacy of transgender and other individuals who have changed their first names.
  • The removal of the requirement that immigrants authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1.
  • A new “Citizenship/Immigration Status” field at the top of section 2.
  • A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form, such as Temporary Protected Status and Optional Practical Training extensions.
  • A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed that can be used to streamline enforcement audits.
  • Separate instructions from the form. Employers are still required to present the instructions to the employee completing the form, however.

Employers filling out the new form I-9 using Adobe Reader will still need to print the form, obtain handwritten signatures, store in a safe place, monitor reverifications and updates with a calendaring system, and retype information into E-Verify as required.

For more information about Form I-9, please click here.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the new Form I-9, please contact CGWG Immigration Attorney Misty Wilson Borkowski.

Categories: Immigration