Q&A: 2020’s New Form I-9

Form I-9

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department released a new version of the I-9 Employment Verification Form. Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 (version 10/21/2019) on January 31st, 2020. To give employers additional time to update and adjust their business processes, the USCIS will allow employers to use the previous version (dated 07/17/2017) until April 30, 2020. The USCIS provides 2 versions of the Form I-9, a paper form and an electronic form. There are no changes to the paper version, but employers must start using the new form by no later than May 1, 2020.

What is the Form I-9?

The Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must have a completed Form I-9 for each person they hire for employment in the U.S. regardless of their citizenship or citizenship status. Employers must retain completed forms and make them available for inspection by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or any another authorized federal government agency upon request. 

What are the Changes?

  • The Country of Issuance field lists additional countries. This change is only visible when completing the electronic form. Eswatini and Macedonia, North have been added due to those countries’ recent name changes.
  • Clarification on who can act as an authorized representative of an employer. Employers may designate anyone to be an authorized representative to complete Section 2, but the employer is still liable for any violations committed by the designated person. This change was needed to clarify authorized company representatives who may complete the form when hiring workers remotely. 
  • Entering “N/A” in the List Columns not used is no longer necessary. When entering identity verification information in the List A column (or alternatively in the List B and C columns), you will not need to enter “N/A” in the columns that are not being used. For example, if an employee provides a passport in the List A column, writing N/A in columns B and C is not necessary. 
  • Clarification on List C documents. The new form clarifies that the form’s List C documents establishing employment authorization does not include a worker’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The List C documents include items like a Social Security card and birth certificate. The EAD (Form I-766) providing temporary employment authorization to work in the United States is a List A document.

Additional Questions

Q:  Do I need to complete a Form I-9 for independent contractors?

A:  No

Q:  Am I responsible for the authenticity of documents presented for verification?

A:  No. Accept documents if they appear genuine and relate to the employee.

Q:  What if there is a mistake on the form?

A:  Correct the mistake by lining through the mistake and then enter the correct information. All corrections must be dated and initialed. Do not use white out to make corrections.

Q:  Can I fire an employee who fails to produce the required documents?

A:  Yes. If employees do not produce the required documents within 3 business days, you may terminate their employment.  

If you have additional questions regarding this topic or if you have any other compliance related questions, we are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and to speak with one of our HR advisors.