US immigration announces new I-9 employment eligibility form

On March 8th 2013, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form which is used by the USCIS for 'verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States'. The form is filled in by employee and employer when an employee begins work and each declares that the employee has shown the employer his visa allowing him to work in the US. US employers are advised to use the new form immediately though new applications on the old forms will be accepted until May 7th 2013.

The new form is designed to be easier to understand and read. The major changes are

  • The new form has the expiry date 03/31/2016 in the top right hand corner
  • The form now covers two pages rather than one. The first page is to be filled in by the employee. The second is completed by the employer
  • There are now six pages of instructions for those filling in the form
  • There are new fields on page 1 to take the employees phone number, email address and foreign passport number
  • On page 2 there is increased space for the employer to log documentation supplied by the employee to prove his eligibility

I-9 must be completed for every employee in the US

The I-9 form must be completed whenever a US employer employs anyone in the US. The purpose of the form is to verify the identity of the employee and to confirm his (her) right to work in the US. The employer will complete the form with the assistance of the new employee. The employee must sign the form declaring that he is entitled to work and also provide the employer with the relevant documents. The employer must check the documentation and record that it has done so on the form.

Once the form is completed, the employer is required to store it safely. There is no requirement that the form be sent to USCIS or any other US government agency. The form must be kept for three years or for one year after the employment ends, whichever is later.

There are no changes to the requirement that employees should complete their section of the form either before they start work or on their first day. Employers must fill in page 2 within three days of the employee starting work.

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