USCIS Says Expired Form I-9 Still Okay to Use, Requests Additional Comments

Author: Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editor

April 5, 2016

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an employer should continue to use the current version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, even though it expired on March 31, until a new form is finalized and posted for use. USCIS has also announced that it has extended the comment period until April 27, because it has made additional proposed revisions to the form.

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. USCIS launched a 60-day public comment period on proposed changes to the form in November 2015, which ended on January 25. Based on 133 comments received, USCIS has now made additional proposed improvements, most of which are designed to reduce employers' technical errors and help them complete the form electronically after downloading it from USCIS.

The latest round of changes to the form include:

  • Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly;
  • Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators;
  • Drop-down lists and calendars;
  • Embedded instructions for completing each field;
  • Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form, and clear the form to start over;
  • A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form;
  • A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed and can be used to streamline audit processes;
  • The requirement that employees provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used;
  • Removing the requirement that aliens authorized to work must provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1;
  • Separating instructions from the form, in keeping with USCIS practice; and
  • An additional Supplement in cases where more than one preparer or translator is used to complete Section 1.

USCIS advises employers to keep an eye on I-9 Central, where the agency will post additional information as it becomes available and, eventually, the final version of the new form. It may be some time before the form is finalized, however.

At the end of this latest comment period, USCIS may still make further changes to the form based on the comments received. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will then review the information collection for approval. Only after the OMB approves the information collection can USCIS post the new form and instructions for public use.

An employer may view the proposed form and instructions and submit a comment online by entering OMB Control Number 1615-0047 in the search box. The docket folder contains the supporting documents, which include the proposed form and instructions. Comments must include the agency name and OMB Control Number, and must be sent to the OMB USCIS Desk Officer. Comments sent by fax (to 202-395-5806; not a toll-free number) will also be accepted.