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New I-9 Form and Regulation Set to Take Effect on April 3
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A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulation that revises the list of documents employers may accept to verify a worker's identity and employment authorization is set to take effect on April 3, 2009, after being postponed earlier this year. On the same day, employers will be required to use a new edition of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, dated February 2, 2009. Until April 3, employers should continue to use the June 5, 2007 edition of the I-9 form.

Employers were originally to begin implementing the new form and rule on February 2 of this year, but both were put on hold as part of the federal government's broad review of regulations that were originally introduced by the Bush Administration. There is a possibility that the government could further postpone the regulation and form, but employers should nonetheless prepare for both to take effect on schedule on April 3.

Revised List of Acceptable Documents

The new edition of Form I-9 contains a revised "List A" – the list of documents that establish both a worker's identity and his or her employment authorization. The following documents have been added to List A on the new edition of Form I-9:

  • Foreign passports containing the I-551 permanent residence notation printed on a machine-readable immigrant visa. Previously, List A included only the I-551 passport stamp and I-551 permanent resident card.

  • The new U.S. Passport Card, which USCIS previously announced was an acceptable document for I-9 purposes.

  • Passports and certain other documents for citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Eliminated from List A are several now-expired employment authorization documents, Forms I-688, I-688A and I-688B. Form I-766, the current version of the employment authorization document, remains on List A.

In addition, beginning April 3, employers will no longer be able to accept expired documents for I-9 purposes. Only unexpired documents or documents without an expiration date (such as a Social Security card) will be acceptable.

New Status Selection for U.S. Nationals

The new edition of Form I-9 also makes some changes to the part of the form in which new hires attest to their status.

In Section I of the form, an individual must indicate whether he or she is a U.S. citizen, a non-citizen national of the United States, a U.S. lawful permanent resident or a foreign national authorized to work in the United States. The new form creates a separate selection for non-citizen nationals of the United States. Previously, the form contained a single, combined selection that was chosen by workers who were either U.S. citizens or non-citizen nationals.

Non-citizen nationals of the United States are individuals who were born in American Samoa, certain residents of the Northern Mariana Islands who have not become U.S. citizens, and certain individuals who were born abroad to non-citizen U.S. nationals. Though U.S. nationals do not possess full U.S. citizenship, they are not foreign nationals; they may enter and work in the United States without restriction.

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