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Coming Soon: Mandatory New I-9 Form

Coming Soon: Mandatory New I-9 Form

The Inside Perspective
(January 17, 2017)

The US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued a new version of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form dated "11/14/16".  All employers will be required to use the new I-9 by January 22, 2017 for new hires.  Old versions will be unacceptable after that date.  There will also be a new Handbook for Employers (M-274).

The I-9 Form, created by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1986, requires all employers to verify the identity and work authorization status of all new employees on or before their first day of work (including U.S. citizens). The forms must be maintained for all current employees and for a specified period after termination of employment.

The new I-9 has NOT changed significantly from the previous version, although it contains clarifications designed to ease confusion while completing the form. No new documents will be required. The new form contains three pages: Page 1 contains Section 1 (completed by employee); page 2 contains Sections 2 & 3 (completed by employer); and page 3 contains the list of acceptable documents. The I-9 instructions (15 pages) will now be a separate document. There is also a new supplement for additional preparers/translators, which (if used) must be retained with the I-9 form.

If an employer chooses to download the online PDF "smart" version of the new I-9, many fields will provide further instructions through an icon. In addition, the form cannot be finalized if any mandatory fields are incomplete. The form must still be printed and signed in the traditional manner. The "smart" features do not exist in other formats.

Highlights include:

Section 1:

  • "Other Names Used" has been replaced with "Other Last Names Used"
  • Box 1.4 has been modified to request that new hires enter either the I-94 number OR the foreign passport information, rather than both
  • If using the "smart" form, the individual must indicate whether the Alien (A) or USCIS number is being used (practically, the number is the same)
  • Next to signature boxes, the field reads "Today's Date" rather than "Date" to avoid confusion or backdating of the form
  • There is a new box in Part 1 for employees to check to confirm whether or not a translator or preparer is used (additional preparers or translators should be listed on the new Supplement)

Section 2:

  • Boxes have been added to clarify entry of Section 1 employee information at the top of page 2
  • Citizenship/Immigration status must be inserted after the employee's name
  • "Additional Information" box has been added to allow employer to include clarifying information as applicable (OPT extensions,  H-1B change of employer, TPS,  E-Verify case number, employee termination and I-9 retention dates, etc.)
  • Employer certification adds clarification, "Employer or Authorized Representative," to the certification block

Section 3:

  • Instructions in block C clarify that a receipt may be an acceptable reverification document

TIP:  The new I-9 form should be used on a going-forward basis and does not need to be completed for existing employees.  The new I-9 Form and Employer Handbook are available online at or by calling USCIS at 800-375-5283. 

Laura Deddish Burton
T (336) 378-5566
F (336) 378-5400
Associated Attorneys

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