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Payroll & Taxes

Are You Ready for the New I-9 Form?

Christine Batten, PHR
by Christine Batten, PHR on December 14, 2016

1-9 Form.jpgWhen you hire a new employee, there’s certainly a trail of paperwork to handle. Now, there’s a new version of one of those forms you need to know about. Starting next month, employers will need to use a new Form I-9 to verify employment authorization. Employers should begin using the new form as soon as possible. The old I-9 form, with a revision date of March 8, 2013, can only be used for a few more weeks, through January 21, 2017. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) requires that employers begin using the new form no later than January 22, 2017.

Employers have to keep an I-9 form on file for every employee on their payroll.  The form is used to establish an employee’s identity and see whether that employee is authorized to work in the United States.  It’s often the form you use the employee’s passport, driver’s license or Social Security Card to fill out. Now, there is a digital option. That seems to be a good thing for employers as it is more user-friendly. Here are some of the changes you’ll notice:

  • The form is now separate from long instructions
  • Missing fields will be flagged
  • Designated space for additional information rather than writing in margins
  • Multiple preparers and translators can be listed
  • Certification is streamlined for certain foreign nationals

Although the new I-9 form can be filled in on a computer, it still needs to be printed and signed by hand. For employers who use a software vendor for their forms, double check that the company has updated the form with the latest version.

Have questions about the 1-9 form?  Make sure to get them answered.  Violations can cost you.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Timing: Section 1 of the form needs to be filled out no later than the first day of employment. It can be done as soon as an offer of employment has been accepted. The employer must complete section two no later than the fourth day of employment, or three days after the employee’s first day.  This is what’s known as the “Thursday rule.”
  2. Documents: The employer must see the original work authorization documents. A copy or picture will not do the trick. Also, make sure the documents you’re reviewing are not expired.  There is a 90-day window for document review for U.S. Citizens or permanent residents who have already applied for a replacement document.
  3. Reverification: It’s important to carefully track and time re-verification with foreign national workers who have temporary employment authorization. But sometimes, there is an automatic continuing work authorization for a limited period of time so be sure to contact a legal expert before terminating an employee.
  4. Retention: Maintain I-9 records as long as that employee is with your company and for three years after termination.

Remember, you can technically use the old I-9 through January 21, 2017, but it’s recommended you begin reviewing and using it as soon as possible. There is still a paper option of the new form if you prefer.  If keeping up with HR and things like new government forms and regulations is overwhelming, FrankCrum has a team of HR experts on staff to help guide you every step of the way, so you can focus on growing your business.  Call today to learn more. 1-800-277-1620.  


A Business Owner's Guide to HR

Christine Batten, PHR
Christine Batten, PHR

Christine has over 20 years of HR related experience with a background in labor and employment law.