On December 17, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an Interim Rule amending the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) and the types of identity and employment authorization documents an employer may accept as part of the I-9 process. The rule and new form take effect on February 2, 2009, which is 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. As of February 2, the new Form I-9 will be the ONLY version of the form employers can use to satisfy the Employment Eligibility Verification process.
Among the most important items mentioned in the USCIS press release include:
- The new Form I-9 must not only be used for new hires but also for all reverifications that might be required for existing employees. Employers will no longer be allowed to use Section 3 – Updating and Reverification of the current version of the form to reverify affected employees as of February 2, 2009.
- All documents presented, either by new hires or reverified employees, must be valid and unexpired. Previously, employers could accept certain expired documents to establish identity, such as expired drivers’ licenses (under List B) and U.S. passports (under List A).
- Form I-766 will be the only Employment Authorization Document (EAD) acceptable as a List A document. The other EADs are no longer issued by the federal government and therefore are no longer acceptable.
- Foreign passports containing certain machine-readable immigrant visas have been added to List A. Note that this provision should have very limited applicability as it only applies to certain immigrant visas containing a temporary I-551 notation, which is interim evidence of an individual having received permanent resident status (a “green card”).
- USCIS will be updating the Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 (M-274) and will post the revised version on the agency’s website.
A FAQ sheet available on USCIS’ website also summarizes the revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form.
Note: This article was published in the December 2008 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.