New Form I-9 and Alternative Verification Procedure Announced by USCIS
August 10, 2023
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an updated version of Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of employees. This updated form is available for use on the USCIS website starting Aug. 1, 2023, and must be used by all employers starting Nov. 1, 2023. There will also be an alternative procedure to the in-person physical document examination employers have historically followed as part of the I-9 process.
Employers do not need to complete a new Form I-9 for current employees who already have a properly completed Form I-9 on file unless re-verification applies to them after Oct. 31, 2023.
There were seven changes made to the I-9 form to make it easier to use across multiple devices and reduce the length of the form. These revisions include:
- Sections 1 and 2 have been reduced to a single-sided sheet.
- The form was redesigned to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices.
- The Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area was moved to a separate, standalone supplement employers can provide to employees, if applicable.
- Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, was moved to a standalone supplement for use in a rehire or re-verification situation.
- The Lists of Acceptable Documents page was revised to include some acceptable receipts in addition to guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
- I-9 instructions have been reduced from 15 to 8 pages.
- A checkbox was added to allow employers to indicate they examined I-9 documentation remotely under an authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.
Not all employers are eligible to use the alternative procedure for the in-person physical documentation examination. At this time, only employers who are in good standing in E-Verify are qualified to use the alternative procedure. An employer is considered in good standing with E-Verify when the following conditions have been met:
- They are enrolled in E-Verify with respect to all hiring sites in the United States using the alternative procedure.
- They comply with all requirements of the E-Verify program.
Once enrolled in E-Verify, employers will be required to create a case for all newly hired employees, whether or not the alternative procedure is used, at each hiring site enrolled in E-Verify. If an employer decides to offer the alternative procedure to new employees at an E-Verify hiring site, they must do so consistently for all employees at that site. However, a qualified employer may choose to offer the alternative procedure for remote hires and continue to apply physical examination procedures to onsite or hybrid employees. Applying both procedures can take place as long as the employer does not adopt such a practice for a discriminatory purpose or treat employees differently based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin.
Alternative Procedure Process
In addition to the requirement employers are in good standing with and use E-Verify, the alternative procedure requires the following to occur within three business days of the first day of employment:
- The employee must transmit a front and back (if the document is two-sided) copy of the identity and employment authorization documentation to the employer.
- The employer must examine the front and back (if the document is two-sided) copies of the identity and employment authorization documentation to ensure the documentation presented reasonably appears to be genuine.
- The employer must then conduct a live video interaction with the individual who must present the same documentation to ensure the documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the individual.
- The employer must indicate on the new I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for re-verification.
- The employer must retain a clear and legible copy of all documents (front and back if the documentation is two-sided) presented by the employee.
- In the event of an I-9 audit or investigation by a relevant federal government official, the employer must make available clear and legible copies of the identity and employment authorization documentation presented by the employee for document examination in connection with the employment eligibility verification process.
Next Steps for Employers
To ensure proper I-9 filings, be sure to download the new I-9 form from the USCIS website by Nov. 1, 2023. You will also want to enroll in E-Verify if you plan to use the alternative procedure. Most importantly, make sure your team is trained on the new process and what is required for proper filings.
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