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Message From Director Alejandro Mayorkas

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is pleased to release The Handbook for Employers (Rev. 01/05/11), also known as the M-274. The Handbook for Employers helps employers better understand the Form I-9 process. It was published in cooperation with our Department of Homeland Security partners.

By law, U.S. employers must verify the identity and employment authorization for every worker they hire after November 6, 1986, regardless of the employee’s immigration status. To comply with the law, employers must complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility VerificationThe Handbook for Employers is a guide for employers in the Form I-9 process. It has been revised and updated with new information about applicable regulations, including new regulations about electronic storage and retention of Forms I-9; it clarifies how to process an employee with a complicated immigration status; and, it addresses public comments and frequently asked questions. We thank the many stakeholders who have provided comments on the Form I-9 process and the Handbook since the Handbook was last revised (Rev. 7/31/2009).

Some of the many improvements, new sections, and tools included in The Handbook for Employers are:

  • New visual aids for completing Form I-9
  • Examples of new relevant USCIS documents
  • Expanded guidance on lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylees, individuals in Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and exchange visitors and foreign students
  • Expanded guidance on the processing of employees in or porting to H1-B status and H2-A status
  • Expanded guidance on extensions of stay for employees with temporary employment authorization

The Handbook for Employers now also includes information for employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) who must verify their employees’ employment authorization on Form I-9 CNMI. It also highlights information about documents CNMI employers may accept from their employees.

We are pleased to release this revised and updated handbook.  We are hopeful it will serve as a useful guide for employers complying with the Form I-9 process.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/11/2011