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USCIS Announces February 2, 2009 Effective Date for New Form I-9


In yesterday’s Federal Register, USCIS published and announced the effective date of a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

All employers are required to complete Form I-9 with respect to newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States.  The employee must complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 on or before the first day of employment.  Employers are required to complete Section 2 of the Form I-9 within three days of the date employment begins.  In doing so, the employer must examine original documents presented by the employee (such as a US passport, or a driver’s license and social security card), and ensure that those documents confirm the employee’s identity and employment authorization. 

The new version of the form, which will take effect for new hires on or after February 2, 2009, contains only a few modifications to the current version of the form.  The form now provides separate boxes on the I-9 for the employee to claim status as either a “citizen” or a “national” rather than one box to claim status as a “citizen or national” on the current form.  The “List of Acceptable Documents,” found on the reverse of the form, which was last changed in 2007 to make the form’s instructions match the regulations promulgated in 1997, has been amended again to eliminate references to forms of employment authorization documents no longer issued by USCIS and to update references to certain other documents.  In an effort to reduce fraud and improve the integrity of the employment verification process, the new regulations and I-9 form now require that any document any document presented for I-9 purposes be unexpired (except documents such as Social Security Cards that have no expiration date).
The regulation and form make other technical changes, including: replacing the term “employment eligibility” with “employment authorization;” requiring that a Social Security Card not be accepted if it specifies on the face that the issuance of the card does not authorize employment in the United States; and allowing use of a Form I-94, Arrival Departure Record, only by those individuals authorized to work for a specific employer by their status (such as an H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrant).
The USCIS is currently in the process of revising its I-9 Handbook for Employers to reflect these recent changes and the new version of the Handbook is expected to be published shortly.
Employers may wish to use the roll-out of the new Form I-9 as an opportunity to provide refresher training to staff involved in the I-9 process.  Should employers need additional compliance resources, such as in-depth I-9 training or an audit of their I-9 files, they can contact partners William Stock ( or Elise Fialkowski (
The advance copy of the new Form I-9 can be downloaded from the Firm’s website at
The complete regulation can be found at

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