The I-9 form is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States, and it is completed as part of the hiring process. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form.
The updated form was released in October 2019, and employers were encouraged to begin use as early as January 2020. However, the mandatory deadline for updating your I-9 form is May 1, 2020. Here are the forms, available for download, from the USCIS.
Common mistakes when completing the I-9
Submitting Incomplete Forms
One common mistake is simply not completing all of the fields. For example, it’s easy to accidentally overlook the fields for U.S. immigration status and when the employee’s work authorization will expire. HR managers should take care to look over each and every field on the form to ensure it’s been filled out.
Not every employee will read the Form I-9. This leads to filling in the wrong information sometimes, including employees putting their birthdays where the date should be in section one.
Completing the Form Too Late
The initial verification must be done within three days after hiring is official—no exceptions.
COVID-19 changes to I-9 verification requirements
Per the Department of Homeland Security, COVID-19 has enabled employers to complete employment verification remotely rather than in person only.
"Due to precautions being implemented by employers and employees related to physical proximity associated with COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume."