Thursday, November 26, 2015

Small Business - USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Changes to Form I-9

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I do not usually place USCIS Regulation announcements up here. But the I-9 form is something that impacts every employer and many small business owners do not know enough about filling out the form. Because there can be significant penalties for incorrectly completing and maintaining employee I-9 forms, I think this notice is appropriate for posting. This may be a time when an owner of a small business might want to comment. Also, this is a great opportunity to raise awareness about a significant part of the hiring process that many owners consider "routine" and may not monitor as well as they should.

Direct from USCIS:
"USCIS published a notice in the Federal Register on Nov. 24, 2015, to inform the public of proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The public may provide comments on the proposed changes for 60 days, until Jan. 25, 2015.

Many of the proposed changes to Form I-9 are intended to help reduce technical errors and help customers complete the form on their computer after they have downloaded it from For instance, the form:

  • Checks certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly;
  • Provides additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators;
  • Includes drop-down lists and calendars;
  • Provides instructions on the screen that users can access to complete each field;
  • Includes buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over;
  • Provides a dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form; and
  • Will generate a quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, once the form is printed and can be used to streamline audit processes.
Other proposed changes include:

  • Requiring employees to provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used;
  • Streamlining the certification in Section 1 for certain foreign nationals; and
  • Separating the instructions from the form to bring the form in line with USCIS’ practices.

Submit a Comment

To view the proposed form and instructions, go to the Form I-9 notice at To submit a comment, enter USCIS-2006-0068 in the search box and click the “Comment Now!” button. After completing all the necessary fields, click “Submit Comment.”

After the 60-day period

After the 60-day period ends, USCIS may make changes to the form based on comments received and will publish a second notice in the Federal Register. The public will have an additional 30 days to provide comments on proposed changes. USCIS will notify the public about these comment periods on I-9 Central.

Which Form Should I Use?

Employers must complete Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States. The current version of Form I-9 is available on USCIS’ online I-9 resource center at Employers must continue to use the current version of Form I-9 until the Office of Management and Budget approves the proposed version and USCIS posts it on I-9 Central.
I-9 Central includes information about employer and employee rights and responsibilities, step-by-step instructions for completing the form, and information on acceptable documents for establishing identity and employment authorization. Subscribe to I-9 Central to receive updates and alerts."
As a side note on this issue, business owner and their HR professionals should know that dictating what documents your company will accept from the approved list on the I-9 form can be a violation of the law and result in fines. Any document or combination of documents as identified and allowed in the instructions on the I-9 form must be accepted. For instance, a company cannot determine it will only accept Passports and no other documents. That would be a violation.

Also, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can come into a company and check for I-9 compliance. A compliance inspection can happen as a result of an investigation due to an incident in the work place or as a random check as part of its general enforcement duties. It is wise for a company to do audits on its I-9's from time to time to make sure they are complete, current, and that it has not imposed illegal restrictions.

If you want to know more about Mark Medvesky or Wells, Hoffman, Holloway & Medvesky LLP, check out our website at

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