• USCIS Issues "Rebranded" Version of Employment Authorization Form (I-9)
  • September 21, 2005 | Author: Michael S. Mizell
  • Law Firm: Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP - Nashville Office
  • Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division (USCIS) has updated the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification to remove all references to the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Department of Justice.

    The Homeland Security Act of 2002 created the Department of Homeland Security and the USCIS. Most functions of the former INS were transferred to USCIS as a part of this reorganization. Among other things, USCIS is charged with maintaining many of the immigration forms commonly used by employers and employees. USCIS is currently in the process of rebranding these forms, including Form I-9, to reflect the reorganization.

    Other than replacing outdated references to the Department of Justice and the former INS with references to the Department of Homeland Security and USCIS, the recently released edition of Form I-9 is identical to the previous 11/21/91 edition. The new Form I-9 can be identified by the edition date "(Rev. 05/31/05)Y" printed in the lower right corner.

    USCIS has advised that "employers may meet their employment verification requirements under the law by completing a Form I-9 that has an edition date of either "(Rev. 5/31/05)Y," "(Rev. 05/31/05)N," or "(Rev. 11/21/91)N" in the lower right corner of the form." This guidance means that employers are under no obligation to complete new I-9 Forms for current employees with existing, properly completed, forms on file. However, as a practical matter, employers should attempt to use the newest edition of Form I-9 for all employees hired from this point forward.

    USCIS has also noted that it is currently in the process of making substantive changes to the Form I-9 (as opposed to the cosmetic changes in the current revision) in connection with its ongoing review of the broader Employment Eligibility Verification regulations. Once these regulations, and any new version of Form I-9, are published, Waller Lansden's Immigration Team will issue another bulletin outlining any changes.