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USCIS Announces a New Form I‑9 and Remote Verification Options

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What Employers Need to Know About the Latest Form I-9

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new Form I-9 with a host of improvements, features, and guidelines designed to streamline the process and make it easier for employers to understand, implement, and ultimately remain in I-9 compliance.

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired to work in the United States. Employers are required to complete an I-9 for every worker they employ within three days of the employee’s start date and retain the form for a set amount of time. To remain I-9 compliant, employers must examine an employee’s documentation to ensure that they’re genuine and relate to the person presenting them.

What’s New With the Latest Form I-9?

Notable changes to Form I-9 include improved mobile compatibility—it’s designed to be filled out electronically on tablets and mobile devices and is downloadable. The new Form I-9 also features shorter sections and a dramatic reduction in instructions (going from 15 pages to 8). One of the most exciting developments of the new Form I-9 is the ability for some employers to examine documents remotely.

Who is Eligible to Remotely Verify I-9 Documents?

Along with changes to Form I-9 itself, USCIS will now allow eligible employers an alternative means of verifying documents—providing them with a remote option. At the moment, the alternative procedure is only available to employers enrolled in the E-verify program who are in good standing and in compliance with all the program’s requirements.
One stipulation employers taking advantage of the option to remotely verify documents must be aware of is that they must consistently follow a procedure for verifying documents. That is, they must follow the same practice for every employee at a worksite. 
For example, a business can either make all of its employees have their documents verified in person, or it can require physical document verification for onsite employees and allow remote document verification for remote employees. The key is that document verification of all employees at a worksite (either a physical location or remote) is managed in a consistent manner.
Whatever document verification policy an employer establishes, it’s critical that they don’t “adopt such a practice for a discriminatory purpose or treat employees differently based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.”

What Remote Verification Documents Need to be Retained?

Another helpful component of the new Form I-9 is a checkbox for indicating an employee’s verification documentation was examined using a new authorized alternative procedure.
Like onsite verification, remote I-9 verification must be completed within three days of an employee’s first date of employment. Employees need to transmit a copy of their verification documents to the employer. Employees then must present the same documents for examination during a live video interaction.
After verifying the employment eligibility documentation, employers must indicate on the new Form I-9 that they verified the documents through the authorized alternative procedure and the date they did it. They must also retain “clear and legible” copies of the documents the employee presented for remote/virtual inspection.

When Does the New Form I-9 Go Into Effect?

Employers may begin using the new Form I-9 on August 1, 2023. However, they can continue to use the old Form I-9—the one with an October 11, 2022 expiration date—through October 31, 2023. As of November 1, 2023, employers can only use the new Form I-9.

GoffWilson Immigration Law

While the changes brought by the new Form I-9 are designed to make the process more straightforward, they also are a shift from the normal course of business. Whether your business needs assistance implementing E-Verify or remote verification or simply wants to ensure it’s in I-9 compliance, GoffWilson can help.
GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and has long been a leader in I-9 compliance. We offer everything from comprehensive audits to client workshops to public trainings and seminars. In fact, we’re planning a live I-9 presentation in September—stay tuned for updates.
Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance