On March 28, 2016, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a 30-day notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on proposed changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The public may comment on the proposed changes for 30 days, until April 27, 2016. After the 30-day comment period ends, USCIS will consider public comments and make changes to Form I-9 which it deems appropriate. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will then review and approve the information collection. The revised I-9 Form will be posted on the USCIS website along with instructions.

USCIS further directed employers to continue using the current version of Form I-9 until USCIS posts the new form on its website.

According to USCIS, many of the proposed changes to Form I-9 were designed to reduce technical errors and help customers complete the form on their computers after they have downloaded it from the USCIS website. USCIS made revisions to the original proposed form after receiving comments during the 60-day notice period.

USCIS reports that key changes to the form include:

  • Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly
  • Additional spaces to enter multiple preparers and translators
  • Drop-down lists and calendars
  • Embedded instructions for completing each field
  • Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form, and clear the form to start over
  • A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form
  • A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, which generates once the form is printed and can be used to streamline audit processes
  • A requirement that employees provide only other last names used in Section 1, rather than all other names used
  • Removal of the requirement that aliens authorized to work must provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1
  • The separation of instructions from the form, in keeping with USCIS practice
  • The addition of a Supplement in cases where more than one preparer or translator is used to complete Section 1

What employers should do now: Continue to use the I-9 Form on the USCIS website and watch for updates on the release of the revised I-9 Form in the coming months.