Updated rules for using Form I-9 to report newly hired employees

The rules for filing I-9 reports are changing. Here's what you need to know.

Hiring new employees requires filing form I-9 and inspecting documents. And things have changed.

If your company is hiring new employees, here’s what you need to know about the new reporting process:

Form I-9 is used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. It is an important tool for ensuring that U.S. citizens and authorized immigrants are the only people who are employed in the United States.

On August 1, 2023, an updated version of Form I-9 was issued (older versions of the form are no longer accepted!). This is the first update to the form since 2013. The updated form includes a number of changes.

Here is a link to the updated version of form I-9.

Here are a few changes to the new form:

  • The new form is a little shorter than the previous version
  • There is a revised list of Acceptable Documents that can be presented to prove employment eligibility
  • You’ll need to check a box that asserts you have physically examined the employee’s Acceptable Documents or that you’re using an approved “alternative procedure”

What do employers need to know about examining an employee's documents?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS relaxed the rules regarding the physical examination of an employee’s documents. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You must examine an employee’s documents and submit for I-9 within 3 business days of an employee’s first day of employment.
  • If your employee is remote and you’re not able to physically examine their documents, you can do so over live video (like Zoom, FaceTIme, etc.) if you’re considered a “Qualified E-Verify Employer”. This means that your company is enrolled in E-Verify, and you’re in good standing in the E-Verify program. In this case, you should check the box in section 2 indicating you used an “alternative procedure” for examining documents.
  • You must keep clear copies of the documents (front and back)
  • Fines for not complying with I-9 paperwork can be steep- up to $2,701 per violation.
  • Don’t forget that you need to retain form I-9 for all employees for three years after the employee is hired or one year after the employee leaves the job (whichever is later).