As of August 1st, 2023, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially launched its new Form I-9.  This update replaced the older Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) in favor of what the agency stated was a more streamlined and shortened version of the I-9.

What portions of Form I-9 have been updated?

USCIS made the following updates to Form I-9.

    • Reduced Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet. This reduction did not require any fields to be removed from Form 1-9. The change was completed through the merging of multiple fields into fewer fields where possible.
    • Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area has been moved to a separate, standalone supplement (Supplement A). Employers can provide this supplement to employees when necessary and attach additional supplement sheets as needed.
    • Section 3 Reverification and Rehire area has been moved to a separate, standalone supplement (Supplement B) that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or re-verification is required and attach additional supplement sheets as needed.
    • The term “alien authorized to work” has been removed from Section 1 and replaced with “noncitizen authorized to work.” The form also provides additional clarification regarding the difference between “noncitizen national” and “noncitizen authorized to work.”
  • Steps have been taken to ensure the form can be filled out on tablets and mobile devices.
  • Certain digital features have been removed to ensure the form can be downloaded easily.
  • The requirement to enter N/A in certain fields has also been removed.
  • Updated the notice at the top of the form that explains how to avoid discrimination in the Form I-9 process.
  • Document Management Solutions by SmartSearch. An additional box has been added to the form that eligible employers must check if the employee’s Form I-9 documentation was examined under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.
  • The Lists of Acceptable Documents page has been revised to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
  • The number of instructions pages has been reduced from 15 pages to 8 pages. These instructions include new definitions of key factors in the form.
  • Abbreviation charts of terms have been relocated to the M-274 handbook for employers.
  • Additional instructions have been added for employers that choose to examine Form I-9 under an alternative procedure.

Easy right? Just change the form used during the company’s onboarding process, and recruiters and human resources professionals can continue with their standard procedures.  Incorrect. Some complications come with these updates, specifically for those who use E-Verify.

Updates to the E-Verify Process. 

Form I-9 is the crucial element of E-Verify’s web-based employment eligibility verification. E-Verify electronically compares information the employer enters from Form I-9 to records available to the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which confirms an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule which confirms that only employers that use E-Verify who are in good standing may continue to conduct verifications electronically after August 1st, 2023.

This rule pushes us toward a potential reality where permanent remote examinations can become the norm for all employers.

The requirements set forth by DHS state that E-Verify Employers performing remote verification must conduct a live video interview with the employee and retain copies of all documents presented in the I-9 verification process.

SmartSearch Users Have an Advantage.

Besides already having a leg up on updating the I-9 form that went into effect on August 1st, SmartSearch users that are approved for the use of E-Verify have a direct integration with the system.  Using the SmartSign e-signature platform, SmartSearch customers can easily collect signatures and documentation required for Form I-9 at any point in their hiring or onboarding process.

Employers have until October 31st, 2023, to cease the use of the old Form I-9 (Rev. 10/21/19) and replace it with the new Form I-9 (Rev. 08/01/23).  Using the older form after this date will result in the incursion of fees, so don’t wait.  If you’d like to speak with one of our team members about implementing Form I-9 automation, CLICK HERE.

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