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Another New I-9 Form Becomes Mandatory September 18, 2017 - July 14, 2017

It was only six months ago that the new fillable I-9 for went into effect, but just this week (July 17, 2017) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service published a new version, deleting the November 16, 2016, version from its website. Although employers may continue to use the "old" version if they have some lying around, they must switch to the July 17, 2017 version in a month (by September 18, 2017).

The changes to the form include one technicality, one potential process change, one acceptable document recognition, and a renumbering of the List C documents.

Technicality Change

The technicality change updates the name of the Immigrant and Employee Rights section of the Department of Justice (IER) on the I-9, , formerly the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC).

The potential process change is triggered by the removal of the words "at the end of" in the sentence that describes when the employee must complete Section 1. Now the instructions provide that "employees must complete and sign Section 1 no later than the first day of employment."

Arguably this instruction is less clear than before (i.e., "at the end of the first day of employment"). It may mean that employees should complete Section 1 at the beginning of the first day on the job or not be allowed to do any work before completing Section 1. Section 1 may be completed before the first work day so long as the employment offer has been accepted, so employers have leeway to manage this change. Since no documents are required to be produced when Section 1 is completed, this change can be managed by most employers.

Acceptable Document

The new form recognizes the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Form FS-240. This form replaced the Certification of Birth Abroad, DS-1350, which was discontinued on December 31, 2010.  The FS-240 will now be available in the drop down menu in the fillable form.

List C Documents Renumbering

Finally, the new version of the I-9 instructions renumbers List C documents leaving the Social Security card the first item on the list of documents that establish employment authorization.

Although the changes are relatively minor in most situations, employers should take steps to use the new form by the deadline and make conforming process and document verification changes to avoid penalties for noncompliance.