Human Resources News & Insights

New I-9 deadline Feb. 2: Are you ready?

Now’s the time to do a last-minute check on your I-9 procedures, before the February 2 deadline.

The first Monday in February is the day you’ll have to complete a new, revised I-9 form for all new hires and for reverification of some employees who have temporary work authorization. Pay special attention to three procedures associated with the new form:

  • All documents presented during the verification process will now have to be unexpired. Previously, certain expired documents, such as a U.S. passport,  were acceptable.
  • There’s a change in the acceptable “List A” identity and employment authorization documentation. You can no longer accept Form I-688, Temporary Resident Card; Form I-688A, Employment Authorization Card; or Form I-688B, Employment Authorization Card. They will all be obsolete on February 2.
  • Added to the acceptable documentation for “List A” are: foreign passports containing certain machine-readable immigrant visas and passports from the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands if presented with an I-94 or I-94A arrival/departure record.

Starting February 2, the new I-9 form should be available at Or you can call the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at 1-800-375-5283.

Note: The new form should not be used for existing employees. It must be used only for new hires and for reverification of current employees who only have temporary work authorization upon expiration of that authorization.

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  • Joanne Michalski

    Has anyone done a complete audit of your companies I-9’s? I attended a seminar and it sounds like you can be fined for quite a few things. I found that I had switched the information required for List B with the information required for List C on the form. Has anyone been audited and had problems with the way the forms were completed? A number of people at the seminar had simply attached photo copies of the documents and had not filled out the form.

  • Angela

    I did my own audit back in September. That was only because I knew about the changes and wanted to make sure that everything was up to snuff with my new employer. To my surprise. The entire system was flawed since there reall ywas no system. I simply sent out an email letting all supervisors know that I did an internal audit and that certain employees had to provide new information due to expirations or non exsistant paperwork. It was a real eye opener at how many employees had expired papers.

    However, from the audit, I was able to place the expiration dates in my outlook calendar so that I will be able to know ahead of time when to ask them for updated information.

  • Albert

    I was wondering about that. If the documents have expired since the person was hired, do you have to obtain a new I-9 with the documents that are not expired?

  • Joanne Michalski

    Take a look at the first page of the instructions under section 3, it looks like you would complete section 3 when updating or reverifying the form – look at section 2 item C and it appears that you just fill out the information for the new documentation. Of course we should all read the new form and instructions when they are issued in February in case this changes. Angela had a good suggestion about putting expiration dates on her outlook calendar.

  • Angel M

    I audited our I-9’s when I started working, and we had to let many employees go. The copies of the documents presented were totally fake (i have a “green card”, i know what it should look like).

  • Jamie

    reply to Angel’s comment: My understanding is that once an employee is hired and the I-9 is verified, you can’t terminate them. Reverification of expired documents is a different procedure. Anyone have info on this?

  • Gina

    Albert — you don’t have to re-do the I9 for the documents that expire — UNLESS they are the documents that prove eligibility to work in the US — If those documents expire — you should update the I9 using section 3 — or completing a new I9 — also — if the original I9 was completed on the form before 6/30/07 — you should do a whole new form.

    We audit our I9’s regularly — and it’s a nightmare.

  • sharon

    Is a greencard the same thing as a Permanent Resident Card??

  • Cynthia S

    Angel M…did you receive “No Match” letters for those employees that you let go? You have to be careful with things like that or you might get sued. I found it helpful to read the handbook. It gives you all the information you need. Which documents to reverify and the timeline for doing so. Also, for those of you not filling out the forms but attaching copies of the documents instead, this is a big no-no. You must take the time to complete the form. It only takes a minute. Good luck everyone…

  • I went to a seminar just on I-9 regulations back in October 2008. Remember you must also have the second page that lists all the documents that are accepted, if you don’t have it, you will be fined. I had to go back and retrieve from the IRS website years back to 1995. If you list a document for list B and put it on list C instead, they will fine you. The certification section where you have to put the date the employee began work, if it is not filled out you will be fined. Even if you put the document information listed in the correct List put on a wrong line within the list, you will be fined.

    I saved my company a lot of money by going back and checking each I-9. I believe the fines were from $20 to $400 for EACH error. The attorney giving the presentation said once you receive the documents for the I-9, if they expire while the employee is still working, you DO NOT have to get a new one upon expiring.

    It’s job security you all.

  • Helen P. Murphy – Dir of HR

    Regarding the green card/ Permamet Resident (yes), you do not have to update this card for when they received them they are legally in this country
    ( the staff member must update them for there reasons) The employment Authorization card must be updated and current to continue to work. In fact on the date of expiration the staff member cannot work until they have the updated card even if they are in the process of renewing thwew card.

  • Vickie

    We do not have to reverify if just something like their driver’s license expires, do we? I have always wondered that. When I took over, our I-9’s were a mess. I’ve been told that it could be $100 fine for every error on a form.

  • MaryAnne A

    Yes the Green Card is the same as a permanent Resident card. Green card was the orginal name the US used in the past

  • MaryAnne A

    Everify gives all the information on how to handle the I-9 documents properly. is everyone using the Everify?

  • Loreen G

    Let me see if I understand this – if a card has expired then they DO have to fill out a new I-9 with an unexpired card – my supers had said we didn’t have to worry about that because we do have a lot of expired cards – we even have some expired passports

  • Angel M

    They provided false documents or no documents ( I did not hire them) We gave themn a chance to provide proper and authentic documentation which they could not.

  • We have six different locations and each location has an I9 folder; should all of these folders be in the Human Resource Directors hands?

  • Response to Loreen – if someone gives you an drivers license and it is current but expires two weeks later, you don’t have to ask for the new one. If they give you a green card that has an expiration on it, you would have to

  • Cynthia S.

    I also attended a seminar a couple of years ago and it was very helpful. I recommend attending one if you haven’t already because it sounds like most of you are a bit confused on the subject. Again, refer to the handbook. It even has samples of the documents and tells you what you can and can’t reverify. I printed a copy and keep it at my desk.

    I have never been audited, thank God so I don’t know what that experience is like or what the actual fines would be. I wonder if they would give us a “warning” if it’s our first offense?

    As for EVerify, in the seminar I attended, the attorney actually told us he would not recommend we use it if we don’t have to. He said it’s like painting a target on the company. It made sense the way he explained it.

    One more question for Angel M…How did you know they were false documents?

  • Angel M

    I have a permanent resident card, and a fake compared to mine is wvery noticeable. Social Security cards are easy to identify based on the paper they are printed and usually the way they are typed. I do not use e verify, but use SocialSecurity verification.
    I am related to a US customs agent who works at the border and have learned a lot from him.
    Once a candidate presents a fake document i ask if they think this is a real card and 95% of the time they admit it is not. I am labeled a traitor anda racist by my own people fr not working with them in getting them employed.

  • Cynthia S.

    Response to Joanne in response to Loreen…Here’s what the handbook states:

    You should not reverify an expired US passport or an Alien Registration Receipt Card/Permanent Resident Card, Form I-551, or a List B document that has expired.

    Employers should NOT: Reverify the employment eligibility of a lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) whose “green card” has expired after the LPR is hired.

  • Sharon

    And…what handbook are you referring to, Cynthia??

  • Cynthia S.

    Thanks for asking Sharon! It’s the Handbook for Employers, Instructions for Completing the Form I-9 published by the US Department of Homeland Security. You can get a copy at:

  • Joanne Michalski

    Thank you Cynthia, I am going to get a copy today. This discussion is an example of what the website should be used for, not political arguments. As the controller/HR person at a small company (40 employees) this is exactly what I need.

  • Sharon

    Yes, thank you Cynthia…I’m printing it now….and it says it will be updated in the near future.

  • Sonia

    I absolutely agree with Joanne and Sharon… THANK YOU for clarifying and sharing your knowledge with others Cynthia S.

    Since I’m the only HR employee at my company and I don’t have anyone to help me with questions like this I usually read the I-9 handbook or I call Immigration (which takes a lonnnnng time to speak with someone).

    But would anybody know what the answer is for an expired Work Authorization card and the only document the employee can provide is a receipt and the application that they have applied for a new one? An application does not confirm that they have been granted a new work authorization.

  • Sarah T

    I know how you feel! I’m in the same boat, except that our company is a little larger. I’ve done some research and taken a couple classes, and from what I understand, a receipt for an updated card (work auth, social security, etc) is acceptable.
    However, you do have to follow up later and get a copy of the actual card, after the employee receives it.
    When this happens, I run a copy of the receipt to keep on file and make a note to get back in touch with the employee in a month or so. I am very careful to document everything, as this is helpful in case of an audit.

    I wonder if the “don’t have to re-verify expired passports” rule (which you quoted above) will change now that expired passports are no longer acceptable (as of Feb 2, anyway). Have you heard anything about how the new I-9 form rules will affect reverification?

  • Angel M

    A receipt is not an acceptable document, it is not on the list. They will have to wait till they receive the actual card.
    I was told this by our immigration attorney after another client of his got a hefty fine.
    A reciept merely acknowledges that USCIS has the paperwork submitted, but it does not mean if has been approved.
    It is also easy to forge.

  • Sonia

    I agree with you Angel, an application to renew a work authorization card or a receipt that the employee paid for that application is not listed in the I-9 list.

    I called immigration to see what the answer to this question is… The first two people I talked to didn’t have an answer to this question… but the third person i spoke with told me to look at “Section 2, Employer” from the I-9 Instructions form which states “they must present a receipt for the application of the document(s) within three business days and the actual document(s) within ninety (90) days.”

    So it is okay, you just have to follow up within 90 days.

  • Cynthia S.

    I checked my handy-dandy Handbook and here’s what I found:

    To maintain continuous employment eligibility, an employee with temporary work authorization should apply for new work authorization at least 90 days before the current expiration date. If USCIS fails to adjudicate the application for employment authorization within 90 days, then the employee will be authorized for employment on Form i-766 for a period not to exceed 240 days.

    If an employee’s EAD expires before the employee receives a new EAD, the employee may take the application receipt to a local USCIS office to receive temporary employment authorization IF it has been more than 90 days since the employee applied for the new EAD.

    Sarah T: Good question! I’m not really sure to be honest with you. I’ll have to check the website or maybe wait for the updated Handbook. Keep us posted if you hear anything. Thanks!

  • Sarah T

    This is a little off-topic, but I figured I’d take advantage of this wealth of knowledge here. 🙂

    Our company is thinking of expanding to Georgia, and I’ve been charged with researching GA state employment laws. I’m having a hard time finding up-to-date information, I guess since much of the legislation is new, especially concerning e-verify. The only additional requirement I can find is that e-verification is mandatory for all public-sector employers and contractors/subcontractors. Can’t find anything concerning the private sector, though. I thought maybe some of you were from Georgia and might know first hand. Input, anyone?

  • Joanne Michalski

    Hi Sarah,
    If you are expanding to another state, I would recommend getting advice from a CPA or law firm in Georgia. There are many implications including collecting sales tax and possibly filing an income tax return. We had one employee move to New York, our workmen’s comp carrier told me that he would be covered under our policy – New York disagreed so I promptly bought a New York policy. Next they tried to fine us $5000 – fortunately, I was able to get most of the fine reversed. This plus other complications led us to treat him as a contractor. We are paying him for jobs as he complete them and we actually do not have much control over him. Based on my experience, hire an expert.

  • Sarah T

    Thanks, Joanne! We’ll definitely consult a real pro before making any moves. We’re just in the preliminary phases right now! 🙂

  • Robin

    I have a question. We have enrolled in the E-Verify as of this morning and we are new to this. Can we verify the I-9s for new employees on that site? If so, do we still need to keep the actual paperwork or is it stored in the system? If anyone can shed some light on this subject I’d greatly appreciate it.

  • Jamie

    I am new in this position and I recently attempted to audit our I-9s. I found many forms that were incomplete. I was thinking about having ALL my employees fill out a new one so everything is completed correctly. Do any of you know if it ok to do so after they are hired. Can I shred the old ones or would I have to keep them on file along with the new one?

  • Joanne Michalski

    You should definitely keep the old ones. Write a memo for your file explaining that you found errors and had people fill out new ones.

  • Roberta


    Check the employers handbook mentioned in an earlier posting. There is an explanation on what information is which sections can be corrected and what can not, there is also a requirement to date and initial corrections. Writing a memo like Joanne suggested is also a great idea.

  • Sharon

    Does anybody know if it is acceptable to cross out info. on I-9 form if it is written in the wrong column & put in correct column? or white-out?

  • Julie

    Some of our female employees have been married since filling out the I-9 form several years ago. Do we need to have them fill out another form with their married names?

  • Cynthia S.

    Julie…You don’t need to have them complete an new form. You just update the information in Section 3. You enter their new name and then sign and date the form at the bottom. The employee does have to show you proof of the name change and it must be one of the documents on the back of the I-9.

  • Joanne

    Thank you Julie and Cynthia, I have a couple of name changes and this alerted me to make the change. I am really busy with year end but plan to check out the Employee’s Handbook mentioned by Cynthis earlier. Somtimes I get lost in the details of government documentation which is why these conversations are valuable.

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  • dolly

    ive been employeed at the same job for 5 years. born and raised in pa, so were my parents, their parents, etc. in fact, im native american on dads side. in otherwords, very legal to work. my employeer just this week sent out i9 forms for everyone to fill out. do i need to fill that out since ive been legally working there 5 years already?

  • dolly

    i forgot to mention, the company i work for is a state run company, a motorcycle safety program. we just changed our payroll company, its a temp agency that is now handling our payroll. this new payroll company wants us to fill out these forms.

  • Eddie O

    I have someone who has not brought papers, what is my deadline before I can terminate the staff. I am in California