Employment eligibility verification requirements originated in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, requiring employers to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form referred to as "Form I-9" for all new hires within their first three days of work.

The most recent version of the Form I-9, which technically expired on March 31, 2016, is being replaced by a proposed "Smart" Form. The "Smart" Form would implement significant changes geared toward aiding employers in eliminating the occurrence of common technical errors (which can result in fines of between $110 to $1,100 for each violation) and provides further assistance in completing the forms properly. The following list highlights some of the key changes:

  • Ensuring the proper number of digits are entered for an individual's SSN;
  • Adding drop down lists and embedded instructions for completing each field;
  • Creating a dedicated area to enter additional information that is currently recorded in the margins; and
  • Creating a Quick Response Code (QR Code) for each form that can be used to streamline the audit process.

The comment period on the proposed "Smart" Form closed on April 27, 2016. These comments remain under consideration by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and will soon be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval.

In the interim, USCIS representatives advise that employers should continue to use the expired form until a new form is issued. The most recent valid version is (Rev. 03/08/13 N), and you can confirm that you are using this version by cross-checking the revision date on the bottom left corner of the Form I-9. We will issue an update when the new Form I-9 is approved by the OMB and posted to the USCIS website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.