U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today a final rule that adopts, without change, an interim rule to improve the integrity of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) process. The interim rule which has been in effect from April 3, 2009 has been finalized after receiving and reviewing public comments for the same.

The key changes made to the Form I-9 process by the interim rule and adopted by the final rule include prohibiting employers from accepting expired documents for completion of Form I-9 and adding and modifying several documents on the Lists of Acceptable Documents. The final rule will be effective on May 16, 2011. Employers may continue to use the current version of the Form I-9 or the previous version.

Following are the key changes that have been made with regard to documents to be submitted in completing an I-9 Form.

  • The final rule prohibits employers from accepting expired documents.
  • Forms I-688, I-688A, and I-688B have been taken off the List A document list.
  • Foreign passports containing temporary I-551 notification has been included instead.
  • Valid passports for citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), along with Form I-94 or Form I-94A are also included in List A.

Even though there are supporter for the final rule that is being implemented, many are opposing the prohibition of expired documents such as asylees, refugees and conditional residents would find it difficult to present an unexpired document as evidence of employment authorization. Several commentors are of the opinion that expired documents should be acceptable because the USCIS is unable to timely process applications for new documents demonstrating authorization. A receipt rule is in place but only for documents that have been lost, damaged or stolen and is not applicable for expired documents.

The changes made to Form I-9 process has come as a result of the public comments received and can be seen as a step to improve and fine-tune the employment eligibility process.

Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Any issues regarding compliance and obligations under United States or International laws or regulations should be addressed through your legal department or outside counsel.