USCIS Released a New I-9 Form: How and When You Must Use It

Passport and I-9 Form

On 10/21/2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a revised version of the I-9 form.  The new I-9 form replaces the previous version dated 7/17/2017 and must be used starting 5/1/2020.

Changes to the form include:

  1. Adds the countries of Eswatini and Macedonia in the countries of issuance field.
  2. Provides clarification for who can act as an Authorized Employer Representative.
  3. Updates the website address for USCIS
  4. Gives further clarification of acceptable documents
  5. Updates process for requesting paper copies of forms
  6. Updates the privacy notice for the Department of Homeland Security

The current version of the I-9 form can be accessed through the Resources menu of our website under IRS and I-9 Forms.

The following is a quick summary of the requirements for completing I-9s and maintaining compliant record-keeping of your employment eligibility verification efforts:

Completion Requirements 

  • I-9 forms must be completed for every new hire on an employer’s payroll
  • Section 2 of the form, which includes the physical inspection of documents required for verification of employment eligibility must be completed by the employer or authorized representative within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment

Retention Requirements

  • Per the USCIS website, to calculate how long to keep an employee’s Form I-9, enter the following:
1.  Date the employee began work for pay 1. ________________________
      A.  Add 3 years to the date on line 1.     A. ______________________
2.  The date employment was terminated 2.  _______________________
     B.  Add 1 year to the date on line 2.      B.  _____________________
3.  Which date is later; A or B? 3.  _______________________
      C.  Enter the later date.      C. _____________________

The employer must retain Form I-9 until the date on Line C.

  • The page of the form on which the employer and employee completed information along with any copies of documents provided by the employee as proof of employment eligibility are the documents that must be retained and stored for the required period determined above.

Storage Requirements

I-9 forms may be stored in accordance with the following:

  • On-site or at an off-site storage facility
  • In a single format or a combination of formats, such as:
  1. paper
  2. microfilm or microfiche
  3. electronic
  • Paper forms may be stored in employees’ personnel files; however, in order to comply with any request for inspection as outlined below, it is recommended that the I-9 forms be stored in a separately labeled file folder.

Complying with a Request for Inspection

Officers /employees from the following agencies may ask to inspect an employer’s I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification forms:

  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) at the Department of Justice (f/k/a Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices)
  • Department of Labor

Typically the officer / employee of the inspecting agency will designate a location for the inspection to take place, which may include:

  • Having the employer bring the forms to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office
  • A mutually agreed upon location that an employer requests, such as the location where the I-9 forms are stored

Regardless of how the forms are stored, employers must be able to present them within 3 business days of the request for inspection.

When officials arrive to inspect an employer’s Form I-9, the employer must

  • Retrieve and reproduce electronically stored Form I-9 and any other documents the officer requests;
  • Provide the officer with the necessary hardware and software to inspect electronic documents; and
  • Provide the officer with any existing electronic summary of the information recorded on the employer’s Form I-9.

To review the complete set of requirements on Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, click here to access the “Retain and Store Form I-9” section of the USCIS website.

The Checkmate HCM solution can help you automate the completion of I-9 forms as part of Employee Onboarding.  Along with other required forms on your onboarding checklist, the system can be configured to initiate workflow requests and reminders for HR, managers and the employee to complete the I-9 form within the required 3-business-day window from the employee’s first day of work.  It also permits employers to store electronic copies of I-9s for each employee and can be integrated with the USCIS E-Verify service to ensure proper employment eligibility verification.

Learn How to Automate Your Employee Onboarding