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What businesses need to know about changes to I-9 forms

As of January 22, 2017, there is a new version of the I-9 form that all employers must use when hiring a new employee to verify their ability to work in the United States of America. The new form must also be used when reverifying expired employment authorization of a current employee.

As usual, there are a few changes to the form and we've collected some of the highlights to ensure you continue to use it as intended by the government.

Print, pdf, and E-Verify Available

The new form can be downloaded here, along with an expanded instruction manual. There is now an editable pdf that is referred to as a "Smart pdf" that can be filled out on a computer and then printed out to be signed by the employee and the employer.

The pdf features drop-down menus that feature the most popular documents often presented for verification. You can still print out the blank pdf to be filled out by hand. E-Verify companies should have rolled out the updated versions in their online portal.

Section 1 and Section 2 Changes

For Section 1, any field that the employee does not enter data into--by hand or on the computer--must have an "N/A" written into the blank field. Previously, those with I-94 authorizations were required to provide both the I-94 number and a foreign passport. That is no longer the case.

In Section 2, employers must now notate the citizenship status from Section 1 in the field at the top of Section 2. There is a blank box under List B for making notes regarding the I-9, such as Temporary Protected Status of other items that apply to the I-9. It should not reference anything about the employee's job outside the scope of the I-9. The documents accepted for List A, List B, and List C have not changed with this version.

To completely understand the use and application of the I-9, be sure your human resources department downloads and reads the updated instruction and continues to apply the rules in the same way exactly to every new employee, to protect their employment status and your reputation as a responsible and fair employer.

If you are unsure of the rules or procedures for verifying employees' documentation, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney who specializes in the hiring of workers who require specialized authorization in the United States.

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