Revised Form I-9 Must Be Used in 2017

Form I-9 is the “Employment Eligibility Verification” form issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and required by law. The purpose of the form is to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States, including both citizens and non-citizens. In November of 2016, UCIS revised the form and employers must start using the new version of the form beginning on January 22, 2017. The new version of the form and instructions are available on the USCIS website (http://www.uscis.gov/i-9).

As an employer, you must have a completed Form I-9 for every employee on the payroll and for each person who receives remuneration of any kind. You should not send I-9 forms to the USCIS, but you are required to have the forms accessible for inspection by government inspectors upon request. Bona fide government inspectors include officers from the Department of Homeland Security, employees from the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices at the Department of Justice, and employees from the Department of Labor.


Storage and Retention

Employers may store completed, signed forms onsite or offsite in a single format either on paper, microfilm, microfiche, or electronically. Regardless of the format or location, the forms must be made available within three business days from the date of an inspection request.

Employers must retain forms for an employee or contractor during the entire period of employment. Forms must be retained after termination for the later of these two dates: three years from the employment start date or one year from the termination date.


Penalties for Violating the Law

Depending on the nature, intent, and frequency of a violation, penalties may include the following:

  • Civil fines from $178 up to over 21,000 per offence
  • Criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations)
  • Debarment from government contracts
  • A court order requiring the payment of back pay to the individual discriminated against
  • A court order requiring the employer to hire the individual discriminated against