Written By: Charles Appleby, Esq.
Collins and Lacy, PC
Columbia, South Carolina
As you may remember from prior immigration articles, employers are required to complete a Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of each employee hired in the United States. Businesses are required to keep the form for as long as an individual works for the company and for the required amount of time after termination, either three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ended, whichever is later. If a business fails to properly complete and retain Form I-9s, it is subject to civil fines of up to $1,100 per form and, in some cases, criminal penalties. Remember, employers do not need to complete the new Form I-9 for current employees for whom there is already a properly completed Form I-9 on file, just new employees.
The revised Form I-9 the USCIS released on March 8, 2013 makes several improvements designed to minimize errors in form completion. The key revisions to Form I-9 include:
The USCIS has also published a Handbook for Employers to provide additional guidance.
The USCIS recognized that modifications to electronic systems may be particularly necessary for employers using electronic Forms I-9 so the agency provided 60 days to make necessary changes. Therefore, employers may continue to use the previously accepted Form I-9 until May 7, 2013 but may only use the new edition Form I-9 after May 7, 2013.
To make certain that no errors occur, employers should begin using the new I-9 as soon as possible so that they do not run the risk of using an old form after the May 7 deadline. To order USCIS forms, employers can call a toll-free number (1-800-870-3676) or visit USCIS’s I-9 Central web page at www.uscis.gov/I-9Central.