The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS), has rolled out a new Form I-9 and verification process effective August 1, 2023. As a business owner, Form I-9s should be quite familiar, but if you’re not, a Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. Let’s dive into the differences and important deadlines you need to know.
A new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) will be available for employers to use on or after August 1, 2023, and once released can be found on the USCIS website. The prior version of Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) will no longer be effective after October 31, 2023. Employers shouldn’t complete the new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) for current employees who already have a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless reverification applies after October 31, 2023.
Now only one page long, the new edition is easier for employers and employees. Other improvements include clearer instructions and providing guidance on acceptable receipts and the auto-extension of some documents found on the Lists of Acceptable Documents.
Remote Verification, aka “Alternative Procedure” for Form I-9 Verification
Qualified employers are allowed to conduct Form I-9 remote documentation verification for any employee hired on or after August 1, 2023. Employers need to follow specific steps to remotely verify Form I-9 documents—USCIS has dubbed this the alternative procedure.
If an employer offers the alternative procedure at a particular hiring site, it needs to be offered to all employees at that site. There is an exception, however, if employers want to offer the alternative procedure only to remote employees and do in-person inspection for onsite and hybrid employees. Employers can’t choose when to use remote or in-person verification based on a person’s or group of employees’ citizenship or immigration status, national origin, or any other protected characteristic.
In addition to the requirement that employers use E-Verify, the alternative procedure requires the following to occur within three business days of the first day of employment:
The employee must transmit a front and back (if the document is two-sided) copy of the identity and employment authorization documentation to the employer;
The employer must examine the front and back (if the document is two-sided) copy of the identity and employment authorization documentation to ensure that the documentation presented reasonably appears to be genuine;
The employer must then conduct a live video interaction with the individual who must present the same documentation to ensure that the documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the individual;
The employer must Indicate on the new I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for reverification, as applicable;
The employer must retain a clear and legible copy of all documents (front and back if the documentation is two-sided) presented by the employee.
In the event of an I-9 audit or investigation by a relevant federal government official, the employer must make available the clear and legible copies of the identity and employment authorization documentation presented by the employee for document examination in connection with the employment eligibility verification process.
Important Deadlines to Remember
August 1, 2023: New Form I-9 is available for use, but the prior version of Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) continues to be effective through October 31, 2023.
October 31, 2023: Prior version of Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) will no longer be effective after this date.
November 1, 2023: Only the Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) will be accepted. Employers shouldn’t complete the new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23) for current employees who already have a properly completed Form I-9 on file, unless reverification applies after October 31, 2023.