In an effort to create a “smart” version of the Form I-9 to reduce user error and make the form easier to complete, USCIS has proposed several changes to the form. These include new drop-down menus, field checks, and real-time error messages to ensure data integrity by employers.
After USCIS reviews the comments on the new version and makes any necessary changes, it will publish a notice in the Federal Register, giving the public 30 days to provide comment on the proposal before the regulation becomes final.
The new “smart” I-9 will be able to:
- Perform logic and data validation tests on various fields to ensure information is entered correctly;
- Allow users to read instructions for a specific field on the screen as they are typing;
- Allow users to enter additional information in certain fields, rather than entering in notes manually by hand;
- Provide drop-down menus for selecting appropriate identification documents;
- Expand the information section regarding multiple preparers and translators;
- Allow employees to enter either their Form I-94 number or foreign passport information, rather than both;
- Separate instructions from the form; and
- Generate a quick-response matrix barcode upon printing the form to more efficiently facilitate review by government auditors.
While these new features will provide a greater convenience to employers completing Form I-9, they will still need to print the I-9 and obtain the appropriate handwritten signatures, retain the I-9 as required by law, and track expiration dates for verification purposes.
The current edition of the Form I-9 expired on March 31, 2016, however employers should continue using the current version of the Form I-9 unless USCIS specifically instructs otherwise.
If you have questions on Form I-9 or other questions on hiring foreign nationals, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!