The newly revised Form I-9 is here! A revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, the form that must be completed by all employers to verify the employment eligibility of every new hire, must be used starting March 11, 2013. The new form includes the expansion of the Form I-9 from one to two pages (not including the “List of Acceptable Documents” and form instructions), additional data fields (such as the new hire’s email address and phone number), enhanced Form I-9 instructions, and a revised layout.

Employers should immediately begin using the new form, which bears the notation “OMB No. 1615-0047; Expires 3/31/2016” in the top right corner of the form. The USCIS has provided a grace period through May 7, 2013, during which employers may continue to use older versions of the forms dated in 2009. Employers who do not begin using this latest version of Form I-9 by May 7, 2013 may be subject to penalties for failure to do so.

The new Form I-9 contains additional explanatory language and additional fields that USCIS hopes will reduce errors when employers and employees complete the form. Unlike previous versions, the first page of the new Form I-9 includes only the employee-completed Section 1, entitled “Employee Information and Attestation.”

Form I-9 also includes a new second page that contains the employer-completed Section 2 (Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification) and Section 3 (Reverification and Rehires). USCIS has expanded this page to provide more space and clearer direction for employers, particularly for List A documentation.

New employees must still complete the Form I-9 no later than their first day of employment and present proof of identity and proof of employment eligibility. Within three business days, employers must review any supporting documents and complete section 2 of Form I-9. Of course, employers should carefully follow Form I-9’s instructions to avoid requesting or collecting additional documentation beyond what is required, and should never require U.S. citizens or other lawful permanent resident employees to “reverify” their employment eligibility. Doing so could subject the employer to significant liability under the antidiscrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324b.

Whenever new procedures are announced a heightened period of enforcement begins. Therefore, now is an excellent time to perform your own internal self-audit to ensure your business is complying with your I-9 responsibilities. Please contact your Weintraub Tobin attorney with any questions about the new Form I-9 and whenever you have verification and employment eligibility questions.