Human Resources News & Insights

Clearing up I-9 confusion: Which form should you use now?

The feds just announced the release of a new employment eligibility verification form. Which version are you required to use?

As is always the case when a new form is issued, there’s some confusion over what’s being asked of employers. This time, though, things are relatively simple.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently posted the new version on its Web site. The previous form was scheduled to expire in June, before USCIS extended the date to August 31. The new I-9 is good until August 31, 2012.

What’s new? Nothing at all, in fact.

The form is the same as the old one, with the exception of the expiration and revision dates (The new version is dated 08/07/09 at the bottom right corner, compared to 02/02/09 for the old form.)

Better yet: HR is allowed to use either version of the form. However, some experts recommend always using the newest revision — whether it’s required or not — to avoid confusion.

You can the latest Form I-9 from USCIS’s Web site here.

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  • Sherry

    I thougth this article might help in light of our discussion earlier today.


  • Helen P. Murphy – Dir of HR

    Thank you for the continuous updates of HR – I always apprciate seeing the HRMorning updates – Thanks helen

  • Mary D.

    Thanks for the information and the link to obtain the “new” I-9’s.

  • Shay

    This website is so helpful to me; I don’t know how I would keep up with all of the regs!

  • My HR clerk asked me if she was required to have existing employees (who have already completed older versions of the form when they were hired) to complete the revised form, and my answer was, “No, just use the new form for any new hires.” This seems logical to me, but sometimes the govt is not as logical. Are we correct in ‘assuming’ that the current revised form is to be used for new hires and forward and not for those employees who have an older form on file? Seems silly to ask, but….

  • Richard Olson

    Do people born in the USA need to fill out an I-9 form

  • Marilyn

    Rita – I agree w/you.

    Richard – all new hires must fill out an I-9 form. It started late 70’s/early 80’s.

  • zoe

    If I do not have an I9 on an employee who is currently employed, I need to have him fill out the new i-9 form, right? he has been with the company over 30 years…

  • How are other companies maintaing I-9’s since they can not be kept in Personnel files?

  • KathyC

    You only need I-9 forms for people who were hired AFTER 11-6-1986. WE didn’t have I-9 forms before that date .

  • KathyC

    I keep all my I-9 in a three ring binder in alphabetical order.

  • Marilyn

    Thanks KathyC – I couldn’t remember (or find it quickly) the date they started; I was hired by my current employer in 1977 and I know we don’t need one on file for me.

    So, Zoe – your answer is if that employee was hired prior to 11/6/86, you do not need an I-9 for him.

    We, too, keep I-9’s in 3-ring binders, alphabetically.

  • Mary D.

    To Richard Olson: All new hires working in the US must complete the I-9 form. It makes no difference whether or not the new employee was born in the US.

  • RandiG

    But why is the government wasting money ‘revising the form’ when they have done no revision?

  • Alex S.


    The I-9 document hasn’t been revised, but documents used in proving authorization/proof of legally being able to work in the US has been revised. Some documents in Column A, B, or C that were valid proof are not considered valid proof any longer and cannot be used on the form.

  • Marie

    I, like KathyC, also keep all my I-9s in a three ring binder in alphabetical order. My questions is: Are employers required to make copies of the documents presented and attach them to the I-9?

  • Lajeli

    How might this change affect someone who was hired, say in 2008 using one of the documents that the new form doesn’t consider valid?
    Would they need to complete as new I-9 or would the existing one be ok since it was ok on their hire date?

  • Susanna

    We keep our I-9’s in a three ring binder, alphabetically. Then, when an employee leaves or is terminated we move the 1-9 to a separate binder, also alphabetically and then by year of termination. You are supposed to hold on to an I-9 for each employee for three years from the date of hire, or one year following the termination date, if the employee was employed for three years or more.

    You do not need to keep copies of the documents you used to verify eligibility, but if you do, you have to keep them on everyone.

    You also do not have to have an employee who has already been cleared, fill out a new I-9 if that form has been updated. You just follow the rules for the updated form on all new hires. The biggest change to the new form I-9 is that you can no longer accept expired documents, where on the old forms it would state which ones absolutely had to be current.

  • Susanna

    Let me elaborate on one thing…
    You are supposed to keep an I-9 on each employee for as long as they are employed with you, unless they were hired before November 6, 1986. You are then supposed to keep the I-9 on hand (in a binder) for three years from the date of termination, or one year, if the employee was employed for three years or more.

  • Lily

    The document is password protected. Can you provide the password?

  • Jake

    I have an employee that has been working for 11 years at this company and cannot provide any other document but her Social Security Card. Do I have to terminate her? I just came on board and I am finding many discrepancies within internal personnel data.

  • Sandra

    Lily. Just go to IRS.Gov and you can print off the new I9.

  • TLee


    What is the reason for her not being able to provide anything other than a SS Card?? Just out of curiosity….

    Honestly, after 11 years that might be a sticky situation now. It does say in the I-9 regs that you can terminate someone if they do not supply you with the required documentation, but that’s within 3 days of their date of hire. Basically, she should’ve been terminated long ago. As far as I know, an employee can’t refuse to give I-9 documents. That’s probably part of the reason why they give options for the acceptable documents. I’m sure she had a driver’s license, or at least a state ID!!

    Please do tell…..I’m intrigued…

  • Susanna


    TLee is correct, however, according to our labor attorney, e-verify, and many seminars I’ve attended on the issue, if an I-9 was never completed upon hire, it must be completed immediately upon audit findings, but you can not back date the form. It must be dated the day it was actually completed and if you use e-verify, you can not run her information through it because she isn’t a new hire. She must produce the required documents though.

    I too am intrigued…how does she cash her check without identification? She must have had one at one time I guess.

  • Kim


    While it can be difficult for someone to obtain a birth certificate (especially out of state) and you can’t requiredthat they give you a driver’s license, there is no reasonable excuse for not being able to retain a state ID. I woulf simply explain that after auditing the paperwork you have discovered that it was not completed correctly but that you are now required by the federal government to correct the error immediately. Placing the blame on the government tends to help.

  • zoe

    i verified an employee through E-Verify and printed out the authorization. should i keep that with the I-9 in the folder or in the personnel folder?

  • TLee


    From what I understand, you’re supposed to keep the E-Verify print-out and attach it to the I-9 form. I don’t think you’re allowed to keep the information in the personnel folder, but I could be mistaken.

  • Susanna

    I agree with TLee. Don’t keep it in the personnel file because if you’re ever audited, you will have to pull them all out for the audit and that would be very painstaking if you have a lot of employees.

  • MudPuppy

    I began using the revised I-9 as scheduled & have since replaced the earlier “new” version with the “newest” revised version. I have used them only on new hires as of the new effective date. However, I have never used E-verify and don’t know if I am required to. I thought I registered somewhere to use E-verify, but I don’t know where to look. It was too many months ago to recall, and even though I have many sites & passwords written down, I can’t seem to fiind anything related to the use of Everify. Any suggestions?
    Am I required to use E-verify?
    Where would a person register to use Everify?
    Confirm registration and access the site?
    Will I have to go back & everify all the new hires on whom I used the new form?

  • Marilyn
    Here’s the website.

    On the login screen, there are links if you forgot our ID and/or password.

  • kim

    E Verify is required by AZ and a few other states only for ALL new hires. If you have operations in MO and receive any state grants, you must also use it. Unless you are a government contractor….then you have to

    This company’s webiste has state by state information

  • MFred

    For that 30 year employee? Back in 1986/7?, every employee was required to complete an I-9, not just new hires. Our office was almost non-existant back then, I remember scrambling to make sure it was done.

  • Mary D.

    To: MFred – You really threw me off for a minute when you said every employee (existing?) was required to complete an I-9, not just new hires. I recall going to a government sponsored I-9 seminar and was told that only new employees hired after a certain date would be required to complete the I-9. Here is a copy of the introduction I received at the seminar (Please seee Item #1:

    The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) was signed by President Reagan on November 6, 1986. This new federal law contains several far reaching implications for you as an employer ? public and private alike. To assist you in understanding your responsibilities under IRCA, the following information is provided ? based on tentative ? not final ? federal regulations.

    IRCA places an affirmative duty on all employers (which includes all governmental entities which hire personnel) to verify the true identity of a job applicant and the applicant’s authority to work in the United States.

    Employers must complete Form I-9’s for only people that are actually hired ? a person is hired when he or she begins to work for you. Accurate verification records must be maintained in order to assure compliance with the new law. While United States citizens are automatically eligible for employment, they, too, must provide the required documents and complete an I-9 form.

    Employers do not need to fill out an I-9 form for:
    ? persons hired on or before November 8, 1986 (“grandfather” employees);

    ? persons who left employment prior to June 1, 1987;

    ? persons recruited or referred for a fee before June 1, 1987;

    ? persons employed for domestic work in a private home on an intermittent or sporadic basis;

    ? independent contractors; or

    ? persons who are self-employed.

  • Mary D.

    Those question marks in the above post were tick boxes when I put in the text.

  • Marilyn

    I agree with Mary D – you did not have to do I-9’s for anyone hired prior to the 1986 date.

  • Marie

    Does someone know where in The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rules/regs, states that I do not need to fill out an I-9 form for an Independent Contractor?

  • Suzie

    The instructions right on the I-9 form talk about employees filling it out.

    An Independent Contractor would fill out a W-9.

  • Isabel Suarez

    In the processing of doing an audit I am finding many I-9 Forms filled out incorrectly (information in wrong columns , wrong lines… ). Can I correct the information in section 3 or can I complete a new form?

  • Alex S.


    I don’t think you can correct the filled out form, you must fill out a new I-9.

  • I am a new manager and found none of my employees had an I9 filled out so I had them fill out the latest one we had and it is dated 2007. They all have been with the company for atleast one or more years, is this acceptable?

  • Mary D.

    Denise: The correct form to use has an expiration date of 08/31/12. You can find the form and print it by using the link in the original article found in the last sentence – click on “here.” That link will take you directly to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services page. The download for the I-9 form is at the bottom of the page. I can’t say whether or not what you have done is acceptable, but there is a big effort to self-audit and correct mistakes. Good luck to you.

  • Jackie O.

    I have an employee that has filed the past I-9 and she has been working for our company for 5 years now. I’m told that I have to have her file another I-9, does she have to file the new form or do I use the old form, also do I have to run her through E-verify, even though shes not a new employee? If I do and there’s an issue what can that employee do or rather what are the repercussions if any? Since it specifically states to be used on new hires?

  • Mary D.

    If the employee has had continuous employment with your company, why would you have the employee complete a new I-9. I thought one could update/renew an I-9 by lining out info, filling in the updated info and initialing the change.

  • Tom

    on my new job my Director of HR told me not to fill out the I9 forms on employee under the employer section. He also told me to take a copy of a SSC from a employee. When I workedmy old job in HR, I was told not to take copies and also I must fill out the I9 forms. I have told my director that we must fill out the form, but he want listen. I dont know what to do.

  • Mary D.

    Tom: In the past, I was audited by the OFCCP. I always complete Section 2 – Employer Review and Verification – that is a requirement of the I-9. However, when audited, I had not completed one of the forms. I failed to record the SS#. I had attached a copy of the DL and SS Card to the I-9. The OFCCP told me I should be more careful about completing the forms and had me record the SS# from the copy onto the form. My message – the employer completes the Employer Review and Verification section and it is optional as to whether or not you want to keep a copy of the documents used to prove the employee’s ID and employment eligibility.

  • Candice

    Tom – did he say WHY he doesn’t fill out the employer section?

    As far as keeping a copy of the ss card – you need to be consistant. Either keep of a copy of the reviewing documents for each I9 form or none.

  • Mary D.

    Yes, I agree with Candice. Be consistent!! All or none. I just prefer to keep copies for all. Then if there are any questions or problems, I can show the copies that were used at the time the I-9 was completed. Also, never accept a copy of a document from an employee – always examine the original and make your own copy.

  • Tom

    Candice —He just said its ok to not fill it out because we have copies. Most of the copies are copies from the employee and we never see the original document. I guess he not going to change until we get fined.

  • Glen

    If the company looses the I9 form can the company force the employee to re verify?

  • Becky

    Where does it state that the I9 is to be maintained somewhere other than the employee file? I don’t want so and so said so, I want to know where it actually dictates this rule. I have always maintained them in the employee file with the copies for verification but want to be compliant. Please help!