Understanding the New Form I-9

All newly hired employees are required by law to complete the Form I-9.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) mandates employees to complete this form no later than their first day of employment.  The employee must then submit the completed form, along with their acceptable documents to the employer or the employer’s authorized representative.  The employer is then responsible for completing their section of the Form I-9 within three business days from the employee’s date of hire.

On August 1, 2023, a new version of the Form I-9 was released.  Beginning November 1, 2023, all employees and employers must begin completing the newly released version of this form.  Previous versions of the Form I-9 will no longer be acceptable and will be considered invalid.

While the new version of the Form I-9 may look different, the information required on the newly released form generally did not change.  Below we have highlighted some items from the Employee’s Section of the newly released Form I-9.  While some items are new, some items did not change but are still important to highlight.

  • The newly released Form I-9 has been condensed from two pages down to one page.
  • When entering the employee’s “Last Name”, “First Name” and “Middle Initial”, the employee must enter their LEGAL name.
  • In the “Address” field, the employee cannot enter a P.O. Box as their address. The employee is required to enter their street address.  If an employee does not have a formal street address, they should enter a brief description of where their residence is located, for example, 1 ½ miles south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and 42nd Street SE.
  • Employees must select their appropriate citizenship/immigration status. If additional information is required, as indicated on the Form I-9, that information should be supplied and recorded in the spot(s) indicated.
  • To ensure the form is valid, all employees must sign and date their completed form. Remember, the employee must complete their section no later than the employee’s date of hire.
  • In prior versions of the Form I-9, when a field did not apply it could not be left blank. Any blank fields had to contain “N/A”.  Beginning with this newly released form, blank fields are now permissible.

Similar to the Employee’s section of the Form I-9, the Employer’s section of the new Form I-9 remained virtually unchanged.  Employers should continue to complete this section as done in the past.  Employers must complete this section within three business days from the employee’s date of hire.  Please note, the Employer’s Business or Operation Address cannot contain a P.O. Box, the physical address must be recorded.  Beginning with this version of the Form I-9, the “Additional Information” section of the Form I-9 contains a small checkbox entitled “Check here if you used an alternative procedure authorized by DHS to examine documents”.  This checkbox should NEVER be checked as there are additional criteria which must be met before any employer is authorized to use this option.  Similar to the Employee’s Section of the Form I-9, employers may now also leave fields blank that do not apply rather than having to record “N/A” in those fields.

As done in the past, employers are responsible for emailing, faxing, or physically delivering the Form I-9 along with the other new hire paperwork to Fronteer Professional Services right away so we are able to get your newly hired employee setup and paid on time.  Along with the Form I-9, Fronteer Professional Services must also obtain copies of the documents presented by the employee.  This does not complete the employer’s obligation regarding the Form I-9.  Employers must also provide Fronteer Professional Services with all original Form I-9s.  Employers can mail or hand deliver those forms.  DHS and USCIS mandates all retained forms to be originals; faxed, scanned or copied forms are not considered valid.

While on its face the Form I-9 looks fairly simple and straightforward, there are a great number of nuances regarding this form.  DHS and USCIS are very strict regarding the completion of the form and untimely, incomplete, inaccurate, and/or sloppy record keeping can amount to large penalties and fines.  It is important for employees and employers to complete this form accurately, completely, and timely to help mitigate any risk.

While employers are not required to begin using the new version of the Form I-9 until November 1, 2023, we strongly encourage all employers to begin using this form immediately.  The Form I-9 can always be accessed from our website, www.fpspayroll.com, under the “Forms & Resources” tab.  Effective immediately, the newly released Form I-9 will replace the prior version previously found on our site.  The staff at Fronteer Professional Services is always available to assist employees and employers in completing this form and to answer any questions as they arise.

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