Form I-9 Changes Proposed by USCIS

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

December 1, 2015

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a notice and comment request in the Federal Register regarding proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Form I-9 must be completed by an employer for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the US.

According to USCIS, the changes are needed because, despite the agency's efforts to improve the form and instructions, employers and employees continue to make errors when filling out the form. Many of the proposed changes would reduce technical errors and help employers and employees complete the form on their computers after downloading it.

For example, the proposed form would:

  • Check certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly;
  • Provide additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators;
  • Include drop-down lists and calendars;
  • Provide instructions on the screen that users can access to complete each field;
  • Include buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form, and clear the form to enable users to start over;
  • Provide a dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form; and
  • Generate a quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, once the form is printed and can be used to streamline audit processes.

Other proposed changes would:

  • Require employees to provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used;
  • Streamline the certification in Section 1 for certain foreign nationals; and
  • Separate the instructions from the form to bring the form in line with USCIS's practices.

Comments, which will be accepted until January 25, 2016, may be submitted electronically (enter USCIS-2006-0068 in the search box and click the "Comment Now!" button. After completing all the necessary fields, click "Submit Comment."). After the comment-period ends, USCIS may make changes to the Form I-9 based on comments received and will publish a second notice in the Federal Register. The public will have an additional 30 days to provide comments on proposed changes. USCIS will notify the public about these comment periods on I-9 Central.

Employers should continue to use the current version of Form I-9 until the Office of Management and Budget approves the proposed version and USCIS posts it on I-9 Central. I-9 Central includes information about employer and employee rights and responsibilities, step-by-step instructions for completing the form, and information on acceptable documents for establishing identity and employment authorization.