On July 17, 2017 the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated Form I-9. Employers will need to adapt to the change and use the new form by no later than September 18, 2017 or face the possibility of large fines. Most of the changes are subtle, purporting to make the form easier to navigate. You are unlikely to notice these changes without a close comparison to the soon-to-be-outdated document. The easiest way to be sure you are using the new version is to examine the “revision date” printed on the bottom of the form. The previous version of the form, released in November 2016 and required to be used as of January 2017, will contain a notation on the bottom of the page informing you that the document was created “11/14/16 N.” The new version now states “7/17/17 N.”
Although you will be permitted to use the previous version through September 17, 2017, we recommend employers cease using the November 2016 version and instruct hiring managers and human resources representatives to begin using the updated version right away. On September 18, 2017, all employers will be required to use the revised form, so it makes sense to avoid any delay and begin use of the new version immediately.
It is important to note that the failure to use the new form by the September 18, 2017 deadline can result in significant fines to employers. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced increases in fines for Form I-9 violations in August of 2016. Simple violations can lead to a minimum fine of $216 per Form I-9 violation, with maximum fines for more egregious and/or willful violations reaching $3,000+ per instance. Based on the Trump administration’s stance on immigration enforcement, it is increasingly likely that ICE will increase its audit activities, so it is imperative that employers have taken proper compliance measures.