I-9 Compliance and the New "Smart" Form

Under the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986, all U.S. employers must verify the identity and eligibility of each new person hired. Form I-9 must be submitted for citizens and noncitizens alike, and the penalties for not completing this form properly can be substantial.

As of August 1, 2016, penalties have increased along with the possibility of facing an audit. In light of these changes, employers are well-advised to review their I-9 processes and implement best practices for ensuring compliance with the law. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is introducing a new "smart" version of Form I-9, which is designed to enhance the quality, utility, clarity, and accuracy of the information collected. The new collection process will be automated, allowing respondents to submit data electronically.

The Harris County Law Library has a number of immigration law resources, which we are featuring on our blog and in the library throughout the month of October. One such resource is the Immigration Employment Compliance Handbook 2016-2017 Edition, a Thomson Reuters publication in the Immigration Law Library series. At the time of publication, the proposed "smart" PDF version of Form I-9 was still under review. The USCIS has been accepting public comments on the draft and is now awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The new form is to be released on or before November 22, 2016, but employers may continue to use the 03/08/2013 edition of the form until January 21, 2017. 

For a good discussion of the many changes to the I-9 form as well as advice about what employers need to know, visit Law360, and as always, the Law Library staff are available to help you locate additional resources, such as I-9 Central, and to ensure that you keep current with changes in the law.