The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released the newest version of the I-9 Form during the last quarter of 2016.  This email serves as a reminder that the previous form expires on January 21, 2017.  If you haven’t already implemented the new form into your hiring process, you must do so by Monday, January 22, 2017.

The new form is available here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Employers and employees alike have historically struggled to complete the I-9 form correctly.  The two-page form is very detailed, creating many opportunities for technical errors that could result in fines and penalties for employers.  The new “smart” I-9 has a number of features designed to improve the process and reduce errors.  Some of the most notable changes include:

  • Validated fields ensure information is entered properly;
  • Drop-down lists and calendars replace blank entry spaces in some fields;
  • Embedded instructions specific to each field that can be accessed by clicking or hovering over a corresponding “question mark” icon; and
  • A dedicated area to enter additional information related to work-authorization scenarios (e.g., Temporary Protected Status, Optional Practical Training extensions, H-1B Portability, etc.).

A particularly nice feature of the “smart” I-9 is the ability to complete the form electronically in fillable pdf format.  You should note that the “smart” I-9 stops short of being an “electronic form.” As such, employers will still need to print the document, obtain handwritten signatures and follow their established filing and retention procedures for storing completed documents.  However, the electronic data entry features should help ensure that information is entered in the correct formats and mandatory fields are not left blank.

Although the new form is designed to reduce the frequency of data-entry and technical errors employers must still carefully review completed forms for accuracy in order to avoid costly financial penalties. 

This post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact an attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.