New Form I-9 Includes Remote Examination of Documents
This article was originally published in July 2023 and was updated August 2023.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a new Form I-9 on Aug. 1, 2023. Employers are required to switch to the new Form I-9 no later than Oct. 31, 2023. In addition to clerical edits and other revisions to the Form itself, the new Form I-9 process also allows employers who participate in E-Verify to remotely examine an employee’s documentation, provided certain conditions are met.
What is Form I-9? Employers use Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of all newly hired employees in the United States, whether they are citizens or non-citizens. All employers must examine and verify documents evidencing a newly hired employee’s identity and employment authorization, and they must complete Form I-9 for each employee within three business days of the employee’s start date. Employers must keep the Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officials.
What is required for remote document verification? Employers must be E-Verify participants in good standing to take advantage of remote document examination. Employers must also complete an E-Verify tutorial prior to taking advantage of this process. The document examination itself must take place over live video with the individual presenting the document(s) to the employer for review, and clear and legible copies of the documents must be stored in the employer’s files. Employers who think they may qualify for this option should review the complete USCIS explanation for remote examination of documents here.
What are the changes in the new version? USCIS’s announcement indicates that the new version of Form I-9 includes significant changes intended to simplify and streamline the process, including, for example:
- Multiple fields were merged to reduce Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet.
- Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification was moved to a standalone supplement to provide to employees on an as-needed basis.
- Section 3 Reverification and Rehire was moved to a standalone supplement for when rehire occurs or reverification is required.
- The term “alien authorized to work” was replaced with “noncitizen authorized to work.”
- The form can be completed using tablets or mobile devices, and certain features have been streamlined to simplify the download process.
- The form contains a checkbox for employers to indicate that they followed new alternative procedures for document examination.
When do employers have to start using the new Form I-9? The new Form I-9 is available for use as of Aug. 1, 2023, and can be accessed here.
USCIS has provided employers with a grace period through Oct. 31, 2023, to transition from the old version to the new version. Beginning Nov. 1, 2023, the old version will be obsolete, and employers who use the old version will be subject to penalties.
Please contact a member of the Brooks Pierce Labor and Employment Team for assistance on any issues.