USCIS Releases New Form I-9; Only New Form Accepted Starting May 1st

by Mandy Hicks

English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP (ELPO Law) issued a reminder to businesses and corporations today that only the new form of the Form I-9 (version 10-21-2019) will be accepted starting May 1, 2020.

On January 31st of this year, the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of a new version of the Form I-9 (version 10/21/2019). Only minor changes to the Form I-9 itself and to the Form I-9 instructions are contained in this new release.

Federal law requires that every employer who recruits, refers for a fee, or hires an individual for employment in the U.S. must complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The Form I-9 process, managed by the USCIS, helps to verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization.

The main changes to the I-9 include:

• Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer

• Updated USCIS website addresses

• Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9

• Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9

• Updated the DHS Privacy Notice

The IRS and the USCIS both have specific rules on how to obtain, verify and process these forms. In some cases, penalties for I-9 non-compliance can result in jail time, as well as Homeland Security, the FBI, an USCIS immigration audits.

Therefore, ELPO Law reminds employers to be aware of the issuance of the new version of the Form I-9 as it impacts what version an employer may use going forward. Until April 30, 2020, employers can use either: (1) the new Form I-9, version 10/21/2019 or (2) Form I-9 with a revision date of 07/17/2017 N. On May 1, 2020 employers must use version 10/21/2019 and no other versions of the form will be accepted for newly completed Form I-9’s.

The issuance of a new form I-9 DOES NOT mean that employers must redo previously completed Form I-9’s. This new version will be used on a going-forward-basis starting May 1, 2020. Employers should ensure that those responsible at their company for completing the Form I-9 have a copy of the correct version of the form to use with new employees.

The new Form I-9 and related materials can be found here:

• New Form I-9 (10/21/2019 version)

• New Form I-9 Instructions (10/21/2019)

• New Spanish Form I-9 (10/21/2019 Spanish Version – for use only with employees in Puerto Rico)

• New Spanish Form I-9 Instructions (10/21/2019)

• A copy of the most recent Handbook for Employers (M-274) (updated 1/11/18)

If you or your employees need assistance ensuring the documentation offered by the worker is acceptable, documenting your review of the items, understanding the procedures for submission to the USCIS, learning what to do if the information DOES NOT MATCH the information the USCIS and IRS has on your worker, best practices for storage and retrieval of the forms, knowing who has to give you the new W4 vs the old one in 2020, or any other legal issues related to immigration, call 270-781-6500.