U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finally updated Form I-9 and its accompanying instructions—both have a “10/21/2019” revision date in the lower left corner, although they weren't released until January 31, 2020. Employers must use the updated version to verify new hires’ identities and employment eligibility no later than April 30, 2020.
The changes are relatively minor, with most affecting the instructions. The only change to the form itself is the addition of the countries of Eswatini and North Macedonia to fillable fields in Sections 1 and 2 of the online Form I-9. USCIS also updated the Form I-9 instructions to clarify that an employer may designate any person as an authorized representative to fill out Section 2, although the employer remains responsible for its agent’s mistakes. The instructions also clarify the types of acceptable documents, so employers have more guidance in completing Section 2. The revised Form I-9 and instructions are available on the USCIS web page for Form I-9.
Tips: Although you may continue to use the old form through April 29, 2020, we recommend that you begin using the updated form right away. Failure to use the new form for hires or reverifications after April 30 will expose you to fines if Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits your records. Also, completing the fillable Form I-9 online with your employee is an effective way to avoid simple mistakes. As your employee and you populate the fields, it will alert you to missing fields or incompatible responses—all of which expose you to technical fines in an ICE audit. However, if you use the online form from USCIS, make sure you print the completed form and have the employee physically sign it before you store it in your Form I-9 filing system. (The USCIS’s form doesn’t allow electronic signatures.) Questions? See our Legal Guide, Form I-9: Basic Obligations of Employment Eligibility Verification or contact your Vigilant Law Group employment attorney.
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