USCIS Announces Revised Form I-9

Update: For an analysis of the new Form I-9 and the likely DHS enforcement strategies, see “The Lowly Form I-9 Gets a Low-Level Makeover,” by Ted J. Chiappari and Angelo A. Paparelli, published on December 24, 2007 in the New York Law Journal, and available here:

On November 7, 2007, USCIS announced that a revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) is now available for use, as well as the (Form M-274) which provides employers with instructions for completing the Form I-9, and guidance in how to avoid charges of unlawful discrimination on the basis of national origin or citizenship. Since the U.S. Congress enacted the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), U.S. employers have had to verify that prospective employees have legal permission (authorization) to work in the United States. U.S. employers perform the verification process by proper and timely completion and retention of Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) for each worker hired after November 6, 1986.

The content of Form I-9 has changed little since being introduced as part of the employment verification process, but the new version of Form I-9 does contain substantive revisions. The primary distinction between the old and new version of the form is the removal of certain documents that can now be presented by newly hired employees to establish both identity and employment eligibility (‘List A” documents). The documents which have been removed from List A include the Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561), Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570), Alien Registration Card (I-151), Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) and Unexpired Reentry Permit (Form I-327).

The removal of these documents comports with the mandate contained in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) requiring a reduction in the number of documents employers may accept from newly hired employees during the employment verification process. According to the November 7, 2007 announcement issued by the USCIS Office of Communications, the documents removed were those deemed susceptible to counterfeiting, tampering and fraud. USCIS has indicated that the revised version of Form I-9 (dated 06/05/07) is available on their website, and is encouraging employers to start using the form immediately. The agency has further advised that the form will become “effective” once notice of the revised form is published in the Federal Register, and that employers failing to use the revised form after the effective date will be subject to fines and penalties.

The USCIS Announcement and Fact Sheet on the revised form may be viewed at:

The revised Form I-9 and Handbook for Employers may be accessed by clicking on the following links:

For further information concerning the employment verification process, please feel free to contact our office at (949) 955-5555.