New Employees Should Complete New I-9 Form

If you are hiring any employees, this is just a quick reminder that you need to start using the new I-9 form to confirm your new worker’s eligibility to be employed in the United States.

The new I-9 form was released on November 14, 2016 (look for that date on the form to verify that you are using the most recent one). You already can be using the new form, but it is mandatory that you are using that new form by January 22, 2017. My suggestion for making it easy on yourself is to begin using the new form today, or at least no later than January 1, 2017, so that you start the new year off right.

You do not have to update any of your completed I-9s on current employees with the new form. It is only mandatory that you start using the new I-9 with employees who are hired beginning in January 2017.

As you know, employers must assure an I-9 is completed on each new employee hired (citizen or otherwise) to document identity and authorization to legally work in the United States. The new employee must bring the proper forms of identification and work authorization so that you can complete the I-9 by the third business day of employment, or you can no longer employ that worker.

Mistakes happen on an incredibly frequent basis while filling out I-9 forms and employers get penalized substantially if Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) audits an employer’s forms. Here is a guide to the most common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Another way to avoid mistakes on the I-9 form isto use the “smart form”, which is in an interactive pdf format. While not mandatory to use the pdf (you can just print the paper I-9 and complete it, if you prefer), the interactive pdf format will alert you if you fail to complete a blank, provides text instructions if you hover over a particular field in the form, and maybe most helpful, includes a drop down menu that lists the acceptable types of documentation that you can accept under each category of documents (Lists A, B and C on the form).

This smart form is not an electronic I-9 form and won’t work with some HR software systems. The smart form must still be downloaded, opened in Adobe Reader 8 or above, and once it is completed, should be printed, signed and retained in case of an ICE inspection.

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