This post was prepared by Toni Blackwood and Tim Hilton, labor and employment attorneys at Husch Blackwell. 

Following 12 months of public comment, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9 on Friday, March 8, 2013. The form has a new look, contains more specific instructions and solicits additional information. Although the form is available for use now, it becomes mandatory in May 2013.

Every U.S. employer is required to record on Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 the employment authorization and identity of every person hired in the U.S. High profile enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), growing employer experience with high administrative fines resulting from ICE I-9 audits, and the public debate over illegal immigration have combined to raise awareness in recent years of the importance of Form I-9 to all employers. These factors all make it vital that employers have a clear understanding of the form itself and how to complete it.

The new form contains additional data fields, such as those asking for the email address, telephone number (both optional) and foreign passport number for the employee in Section 1. The new form includes a prominent warning to new employees of the consequences of using false documents or making false statements when completing Form I-9. This is an important addition, as ICE has pursued remedies against individuals for using false documents and for making false claims of citizenship on Form I-9. There are also overall improvements in the form’s layout, making the employer’s Section 2 easier to read and understand. Perhaps the most obvious change is that the form has expanded to two pages.
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