With everything else going on this Spring, employers may have forgotten that they need to start using the new Form I-9. You can find a copy of the new Form I-9 here. This new form, which was published in January, 2020, went into effect on May 1, 2020 and employers should not use the older versions from this point on.
Below are some answers to questions we’ve been receiving about the new Form I-9:
How do I know if have the right form?
You can confirm that you have the right form by looking at the dates in the upper right and lower left corner. The expiration date in the upper right corner should read 10/31/2022, while the Form date in the lower left corner should read 10/21/2019. Yes, not very helpful, but those are the dates that you need to confirm.
Is there any guidance to help filling out the form?
The USCIS updated the M-274, Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 on April 27, 2009. You can find a copy here. This Handbook is essential for any employer and does a pretty good job of answering most questions relating to the Form I-9.
How do I inspect documents during the pandemic?
The Department of Homeland Security is now allowing employers to remotely inspect section 2 documents, such as through e-mail or video link. But, once companies return to normal operating procedures, employers will have three business days to physically inspect the original documents.
What do I do about applicants presenting expired documents?
The Department of Homeland Security announced temporary flexibility for List B documents, allowing employers to use documents that expired after March 1, 2020 in completing the Form I-9. You should write “COVID-19” in the Additional Information field. Then, within 90 days after DHS’ termination of this temporary policy, the employee must present a valid unexpired document to replace the expired document presented when they were initially hired.
Make sure you are using the new Form I-9 for all hires after May 1, 2020. If you need help with your Form I-9, we recommend you contact experienced counsel.