USCIS Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Two-Page I-9 Form
March 30, 2012
Get ready, employers and employees — a new version of Form I-9 may be coming your way before long. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on March 27 published a notice seeking public comment on its newly redesigned version of the I-9. For now, it is solely a draft version of the employment eligibility verification form and should not be used. If adopted, it would become the 12th version of the form, and the first to not fit on one page. We like many of the proposed changes, while others seem unnecessary and potentially confusing.
Proposed revisions include shaded headings for the form sections, with Section 1 appearing on page one and Sections 2 and 3 on page two, and boxed fields for entering SSN, alien number, and other figures that must be a certain number of digits. Section 1 would include two new optional fields for new hires to complete — email address and telephone number. We don’t see the advantage in providing this optional information, and employers likely would face more questions from employees on which email address they should use, how DHS will use the information, etc. The new version also asks the employee to provide his or her foreign passport number and country of issuance if the employee was issued the I-94 at an airport or land border.
Changes to Section 2 of the form would include an additional space for a third document number and expiration date in List A, which is helpful for recording extra documents required for certain foreign national employees, such as a Form I-20 for a qualifying F-1 employee. However, there are no spaces to record the names of the second and third documents, making it still necessary to write in the margins if extra documents are needed. Also in Section 2, we like the proposed addition of arrow markers to highlight the date fields, as these can easily be overlooked when completing the I-9. Other changes, both stylistic and substantive, are sprinkled throughout the form.
Members of the public have until May 29, 2012 to submit comments regarding the draft Form I-9. We’ll be doing so, and we encourage your participation as well. You can share your comments with the USCIS by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and referencing “OMB Control Number 1615-0047” in the subject line.