The federal U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently clarified how to apply the three-day rule when completing the Form I-9, and issued guidance on electronic storage and signatures.
First, the USCIS recently issued a reminder to companies using E-Verify that they have three business days after an employee’s first day of work in order to complete the Form I-9. Although this doesn’t sound like news, the interpretation is slightly different than the instructions on the Form I-9, which says that the employment eligibility portion must be completed “within three days” of the employee’s first day of work. With the new USCIS guidance, employers have until the fourth business day of an employee’s new employment to complete the Form I-9.
Second, the USCIS issued final rules officially adopting interim rules that have been in place since 2006, allowing employers to electronically sign and store Form I-9s (75 Fed Reg 42575, July 22, 2010). Under the final rules, employers may fulfill their employment eligibility verification process through electronic means using these guidelines:
- The Form I-9 must be completed three days after the employee’s first day of work;
- An employer may use paper, electronic or a combination of both to meet their I-9 obligations;
- There’s no need to electronically retain the instructions portion of the Form I-9;
- The electronic system must create an audit trail whenever a Form I-9 is created, completed, altered, updated or modified. The trail must show date of access, identity of the individual who accessed the electronic record, and particular action taken; and
- The employer must provide or transmit a confirmation of a Form I-9 transaction if the employee requests a copy.
If you have questions about the I-9 process, contact your Vigilant staff representative, or see our Legal Guide, “At a Glance: Form I-9” (5486).