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What is Form i-9 and How Do I Ensure Flawless Form i-9 Compliance?

August 9, 2023

form i9 compliance

In August 2023, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a new kind of Form I-9 that aims to simplify the Employment Eligibility Verification process. While the overall process is simpler, it will take a bit of adjustment if you're used to filling out the old version of the form. You have until Oct. 31, 2023, to transfer to the new form; after that date, you could suffer penalties if you refuse to switch over. Fortunately, understanding the new Form I-9 is easier than you might think, so take a look at the most important factors to keep in mind for Form I-9 compliance.

What Is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is the Employment Eligibility Verification form that's required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to officially establish that an employee is eligible to work in the United States. This form additionally doubles as a way to verify a person's identity since the form requires proper documentation for completion.

The primary purpose of the form is to identify whether an employee is authorized to work in the United States. That means every employee will need the form completed including U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, lawful permanent residents, and noncitizens authorized to work in the country. Think of Form I-9 as a written record of the employment authorization inspection process as required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Additionally, Form I-9 retention standards require you to keep a copy of the form on file for every employee for at least three years after the hiring date.

New Form I-9 Changes

As you transfer to the latest iteration of this process, look out for several updates to the new Form I-9. You'll notice that most of the changes make the process easier, such as Sections 1 and 2 being reduced to a single-sided sheet and the instructions being reduced from 15 pages to just eight.

With the new form, you'll also find an extended list of acceptable documents that include some acceptable receipts and further guidance regarding automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation. Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification and Section 3 Reverification and Rehire both are organized as standalone supplements that can be printed and provided to employees when necessary. The new form is also more mobile-friendly, allowing it to be easily viewed on tablets, phones, and other mobile devices.

Alternative Documentation Inspection

With alternative documentation inspection, the new I-9 form offers an additional option for employment eligibility verification. Instead of conducting a physical verification, employers can inspect documents virtually, though this method is only available to specific qualified employers. In order to qualify, an employer must be in good standing with the E-Verify program and enrolled in E-Verify through the hiring site(s) they seek to use.

With this kind of permanent virtual verification, the entire process is updated to take advantage of the latest technology while remaining compliant with the Form I-9 issuing authority and relevant immigration and employment regulations. You may wonder how often I-9 forms should be updated, but you don't have to take any action unless the employee's employment authorization document expires, regardless of how many new versions of the I-9 are released. New Form I-9 versions are solely for onboarding new employees or employees who need a new employment authorization document.

Make Form I-9 Compliance Part of Your Onboarding

While the payroll and onboarding process can be complicated, Form I-9 compliance is easy. You can get a copy of the form directly from the USCIS website, along with instructions for all I-9 form record-keeping requirements. Get in touch with our team today, and our experts can help explain the Form I-9 process and help streamline your onboarding and payroll process.

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