Important Dates Regarding the new Form I-9

The new version of the Form I-9, version 10/21/19N, must be used for all new employees hired on or after May 1, 2020. The old version, version 07/17/17N, may not be used starting May 1st. As announced previously, the changes to the 10/21/19N version are minor and are limited to clarifying or restating information in the instructions.

However, one big change is that going forward, if an employer must complete Section 3 to reverify, rehire, or complete a legal name change, and the employee’s original Form I-9 is NOT the 10/21/19N version, the employer MUST use Section 3 from the 10/21/19N version.

Also, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the release of an updated version of the M-274 Handbook for Employers. There are quite a few updates to the Handbook, most of which are again more about clarification than any guidance change. Significant changes are listed below.

  • Major Guidance Changes
    • Sections 4.4 and 6.4.2: Revised guidance to clarify that employers should enter expiration date changes based on automatic extensions of documents in the Additional Information field in Section 2 and eliminated instructions to have the employee cross out and initial information in the “Alien authorized to work until” expiration date field in Section 1. This ensures greater legibility during Form I-9 inspections.
    • Section 6.4.2: Revised cap-gap extension document requirements to better align with regulations. Employers will enter the receipt number from Form I-797C, Notice of Action as the employee’s Document Number in Section 2. Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, is no longer required.
  • New Content
    • Section 4.4: How to complete Form I-9 with EADs automatically extended by Federal Register notices.
    • Section 6.2: Guidance on verifying employment authorization for Native American employees born in Canada.
    • Section 7.1: Guidance for state employment agencies that choose to complete Form I-9 for individuals they refer and for employers of individuals referred by a state employment agency.

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