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Tips on New I-9 Form that Became Mandatory on May 7, 2013

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Tips on New I-9 Form that Became Mandatory on May 7, 2013

May 16, 2013

As we previously reported, it's time to start using the revised Form I-9 that the government first introduced March 8. The USCIS has corrected its prior guidance and confirmed that the new I-9 must be used by all employers for all new hires starting May 7, 2013.

The revised, two-page I-9 now comes with six pages of instructions versus the former two pages.


  • Retain only pages 7 and 8, which comprise the form itself. We recommend that employers print pages 7 and 8 as double-sided, in order to save paper and keep the two pages from becoming separated.
  • Continue to give employees a choice of documents to present. As always, provide the List of Acceptable Documents (now at page 9) to the employee, so that the employee is given the choice of which documents to present for the employer's completion of Section 2. The instructions — the first six pages of the form linked above — must be presented to the employee along with the List of Acceptable Documents. (A Spanish version of Form I-9 is available and may be provided by any employer as a translation guide, but the Spanish version may be filled in and retained only in Puerto Rico.)

Section 1 — For employee's completion by the end of the first day of employment (employee may complete in advance of start date, as early as day when job offer accepted)

  • Two new, optional, fields — employee's email address and telephone number. Employers may not require this information. The USCIS says it added these new fields in anticipation of E-Verify eventually becoming mandatory for all employers, perhaps as part of comprehensive immigration reform. The idea is that the employee would be contacted by email or phone as a secondary notification of a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) in the E-Verify system. Entering the Social Security number becomes mandatory only if the employer is enrolled in E-verify.
  • Box 4 may require A or I-94 number. Foreign nationals with work authorization of limited duration, who check box No. 4 in Section 1, now must enter either their A number or I-94 number in the fields provided. If the I-94 number was obtained from CBP in connection with arrival to the United States, the foreign national generally must enter his or her foreign passport number and country of issuance, although some exceptions apply.

Section 2 — For employer's completion within three business days of employee's first day of employment (may not complete in advance of start date)

  • Example — If employee begins work on a Monday, employer must complete Section 2 by close of business Thursday.
  • "Business days" are counted per the particular employer's days of operation, so if the business is open on the weekends, those days count (even if HR does not work on weekends).
  • List A — Additional documents allowed and more space provided. For example, a foreign passport, I-94 and I-20 may be entered for an F-1 student.
  • Ignore 3-D barcode. The 3-D barcode that appears in Section 2 has no functionality at this time, the USCIS has said.

Section 3 — Reverification and rehires

  • When it's time to reverify, employers should be sure to complete Section 3 in the new version of the I-9 (on page 8 of the revised form), with the employee's last name, first name and middle initial from Section 1 entered at the top of the page where Section 3 appears. Employers should staple the new page on which they reverify on top of the previous I-9(s), so that both are retained together.

We suggest you refer to the revised M-274 Handbook for Employers (PDF) for additional, valuable guidance. We hope this information is helpful. Please contact us with any questions, or if you are interested in having our firm come onsite to provide I-9 training to your HR team or do an internal I-9 audit.

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