DHS Extends the Comment Period for New Form I-9 Proposal

Form I-9

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is extending the period for stakeholders to submit comments on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency’s (USCIS) proposed updates to the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. A notice published in the Federal Register announced how to submit comments at regulations.gov until August 8th, 2022.

The newly proposed Form I-9 significantly changes the ubiquitous document to reduce paper use and the accompanying storage burden. These changes include:

  • Compressing Sections 1 and 2 onto a single page
  • Making Section 3 a standalone Reverification and Rehire supplement that only needs to be accessed when it is required
  • Simplifying and shortening the instructions for completing the new Form I-9 from its former 15 pages to only 7
  • Altering the List of Acceptable Documents to include a link to List C documents from the USCIS website
  • Removing electronic PDF enhancements that were preventing users from completing the electronic version of the form on some electronic devices

In addition to significant changes to the Form I-9, there are proposed modifications to completing the form, most notably eliminating the “N/A requirement.” Currently, employers and their new hires are prohibited from leaving fields completely blank, even those that are optional. Instead of a field that does not apply, they must write in N/A. Under the proposed changes, employers and workers alike would be permitted to leave these blank if they do not apply.

This modification is likely highly welcomed by employers and employees alike, as leaving optional sections blank is a common mistake that often leads to future corrections. Despite Immigration and Customs Enforcement stating it will not penalize employers for a missing N/A, it has happened, so employers are likely to enjoy the removal of this threat.

According to USCIS, these changes may reduce the time it takes to complete Form I-9 from 35 to 34 minutes using the paper version and from 26 minutes to 25 using the electronic form. This expectation includes the time to read the instructions, complete the paperwork, and adequately store it.

Employers and other stakeholders have until August 8th, 2022, to share their opinions concerning the proposed changes. This opportunity will give the DHS time to consider further alterations before the current version of the Form I-9 expires on October 31st, 2022.

As these changes show, keeping up with the ever-shifting requirements for verifying new hires’ employment authorization can be challenging. The best way to simplify this process is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system. This system can guide employers in every step to make completing the Form I-9 easy and help ensure uniform and accurate completion every time.

Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.