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The Groundhog – Six More Weeks For The Old I-9

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 25, 2013 in Job Search

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The New and Improved Employment Eligibility Form (Form I-9)

Groundhog Day, celebrated annually on February 2nd in the US and Canada, is a quaint end-of-winter tradition. Modern customs of the holiday involve celebrations where early morning festivals are held to watch the groundhog emerging from its burrow. According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. This year, the Pennsylvania groundhog “Punxsutawney Phil” did not see his shadow which, according to folklore, should mean an early spring for the area. Recent snows seem to contradict the famous woodchuck’s prediction. Although six weeks of prolonged winter weather wasn’t expected, we can expect at least six more weeks for the old I-9 form before it gives way to the new.

The Employment Eligibility Form (Form I-9) has finally been updated and is available to use. Employers should start using this new form now, and may not use the old form after May 7, 2013.

After performing numerous I-9 audits for our clients in the past year, we want to make sure that you’re aware of the hot buttons that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) looks for that may make you incompliant.

So what’s new about this form and the instructions? First of all, the complete form lengthened from five pages to nine pages total.  The boxes in the form are now much bigger and easier to fill out, but there are a couple major changes you’ll need to educate your team about.

(The first six pages of the form are the instructions. The form itself begins on page 7.)

  • Section 1 is the entire first page of the form, what the employee completes. Here, the employee now has the option to also provide a phone number and e-mail address as part of their personal information. The employee does not have to do so, however, and can mark “N/A” in those fields instead. If an employee is providing an I-94 Admission Number, there is now a line for this, separate from the USCIS Number line, and has additional lines for the passport number and country of issuance accompanying it. The preparer/translator section at the bottom has been enhanced to stress the importance that USCIS puts on this section.
  • Section 2 is still just for the employer to complete, but is now on its own page following Section 1. At the top, there is a line for the employer to add the employee’s name as listed in Section 1. Pay attention to this box and make sure to complete it. This is a new major change that can be easily overlooked! Section 2 still contains the identification boxes but List A now has additional and improved boxes for the documents used. The List B and List C columns have clearer fields for the required information (the name of the document, the issuing authority, the document number, and the expiration date, if there is one). Under the Lists, there is still a separate line to add the employee’s date of hire and it is slightly easier to see. Lastly, the employer has more room to write in the company’s complete address in the certification section.
  • Section 3, at the bottom of the second form page, remains almost the same with the benefit of bigger boxes and some minor formatting of the form. If an employer needs to do a recertification on the employee, this section must be used.


What hasn’t changed?

  • ALL new hires must complete this form.
  • The employee is still required to complete Section 1 by the date of hire, and the employer is required to complete Section 2 within 3 days of the date of hire.
  • The employee is still required to present documentation from either List A or, List B and List C.
  • EVERY line needs to be PROPERLY completed in full, without abbreviations, or the form will not be considered compliant.

Hopefully this form will make it easier for both the employee and the employer to complete all of the required information, and reduce the number of technical violations for the employer. This form and the instructions can be found here

This guest post was contributed by Tricia L. Kleber, PHR, CCP.

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