What Employers Should Know About the Updated Form I-9

I-9 verification during the onboarding process is a vitally important step. Changes to the I-9 verification process during the COVID-19 pandemic expire on August 1, 2023, and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is introducing a newer, streamlined form on that date. Employers can still use the older Form I-9 form until October 31, 2023, but after that date, companies will be penalized if they don't switch to the newer form.

What Employers Should Know About the Updated Form I-9

Here is some important information for employers to know about the I-9 update:

2023 Changes to Form I-9

There was one significant change to employee onboarding during the pandemic that probably won't go away anytime soon: remote employee verification. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allowed employers who use E-Verify to use alternative means of confirming an employee's identification and other documents. The new rules allow those remote verification procedures to stay in place for E-Verify employers. The updated Form I-9 has a checkbox for employers to mark when using alternate employee verification methods, typically for remote workers.

The alternative remote verification procedures must include a live video interview with the new hire. Employers are required to keep copies of all verification documents obtained during onboarding. These are welcome changes that reflect the reality of the modern workforce in the US in terms of remote hiring and verification. More workers and even HR departments are working remotely thanks to new technologies, so most of the changes made in the I-9 update make great sense.

The new Form I-9 has been streamlined into one single-sided sheet, combining some sections and adding supplemental sheets for specific situations. For example, the Section 1 Preparer Translator section is now a separate supplement (Supplement A). Employers can give that supplementary sheet to employees as needed and attach it to the I-9. The Section 3 Reverification and Rehire section is now Supplement B. Employers can print and fill out Supplement B as required and attach it with the employee's I-9 paperwork.

How to Fill Out the Revised Form I-9

Section 1 of the updated I-9 is to be completed at the time of the employee's initial hiring. This section collects identifying information about the worker. The employee is also required to attest that they are one of the following:

  • US citizen
  • Noncitizen national
  • Lawful permanent resident
  • Noncitizen authorized to work in the US

Section 2 must be filled out within three days of hiring the new employee. The section includes the employee's documentation, ID, and employment authorization. The employee is required to provide these documents within three days of being hired, and employers are required to review them.

As mentioned above, if an employee requires a preparer or translator to assist with the I-9, the employer must provide them with Supplement A, which they complete. If the worker is rehired or if recertification is needed (such as for seasonal workers), the employer should fill out Supplement B.

Employers are required to keep a worker's I-9 documentation on file, either for one year after their employment ends or for three years after the initial hire date (whichever is longer). The I-9 forms must be kept on file for inspection by the Department of Justice, the US Department of Labor, or DHS upon request. Civil and even criminal penalties can be levied against companies that do not properly complete and retain Form I-9 for every worker.

Guide to Onboarding

Additional Changes to Know About

Many additional changes to Form I-9 involve updating some of the language for referring to employees. For example, "alien authorized to work" in Section 1 is now labeled "noncitizen authorized to work." USCIS has also streamlined the instructions for Form I-9, reducing these from 15 to 8 pages.

USCIS is removing certain features from the traditional I-9 to make downloading easier. This eliminates the need to print "N/A" in certain sections. Another welcome change is that Form I-9 can now be filled out on tablets or mobile devices. This is especially helpful when hiring remote workers.

The Lists of Acceptable Documents page on Form I-9 now includes new acceptable receipts for documentation and other helpful resources for employers. Employers using E-Verify can also check a new box on Form I-9 to certify that they have examined an employee's documents using an acceptable alternative method under DHS guidelines.

Where to Get the New Form I-9

Here at Workforce PayHub, we maintain a page of Documents for Employers, which includes state and federal documents. The I-9 update will be available on this page from August 1, 2023 onward.

If you need help streamlining your employee onboarding process, we'd love to help! Contact us here at Workforce PayHub to discuss how we can help meet your HR and onboarding needs.

Eric Jones
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