Verification Division Stakeholder Meeting
USCIS Form I-9 Stakeholder Engagement
On November 2, 2010, the USCIS Verification Division and Office of Public Engagement (OPE) hosted a stakeholder engagement regarding the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). USCIS indicated at the opening of the session that the agency is in the early stages of drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the Form I-9 and wanted to host an engagement in order to give individual stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the Form I-9 process. USCIS was particularly interested in hearing from stakeholders on the different sections of the form, the list of acceptable documents, the Form I-9 verification process, and potential educational resources. The session was for USCIS to listen to the views and information of individual stakeholders. The session was not used for the purpose of obtaining group or consensus advice.
Sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Form I-9
Individual stakeholders provided a variety of comments regarding the Form I-9 format, layout, language, and accompanying guidance, including simplifying the form altogether, reducing the instructions to two pages, creating the form in additional languages, and including a place for employers to specify a termination date. There were also comments concerning the retention requirements, and a comment that USCIS should be clear that the form must be retained for all active employees. Several stakeholders expressed that a two-page form would be acceptable and that an electronic version of the Form I-9 is a good option to have available. Comments from individual stakeholders specific to each section of the form are summarized below.
Section 1: Employee Information and Verification
Section 2: Employer Review and Verification
Section 3: Updating and Reverification
List of Acceptable Documents
Some stakeholders commented that employers struggle with the large number of documents that can be presented. They stated that employers find it difficult to know what documents are valid, which is complicated by the fact that they do not have access to samples of every possible document that can be presented, such as school ID cards. Some stakeholders stated that it would be helpful if USCIS provided expanded pictures of valid documents and also examples of classifications that can use each document. At least one stakeholder suggested that there should be one list that specifies all acceptable documents, including receipts and document combinations for special categories.
At least one stakeholder stated that there is confusion among employers regarding when an employee is authorized to work, in particular for cases when the employee may have an automatic extension of employment authorization, but neither the List of Acceptable Documents nor the guidance indicates this. Some examples include individuals who are authorized to work based upon:
One suggestion was given to provide examples for these situations on the Lists of Acceptable Documents.
Several stakeholders raised questions regarding refugees and asylees seeking clarification, in particular, on the acceptance of the Form I-94. Form I-94 with the unexpired refugee admission stamp is considered a receipt under the regulations. This allows refugees to establish both identity and work authorization for 90 days while they wait to get other documents. One stakeholder suggested making this receipt acceptable for longer than 90 days. Currently, Form I-94 with an asylee stamp is considered a List C document.
Additional comments given by some stakeholders on how to improve the Form I-9 process related to the List of Acceptable Documents. Commenters stated that Form I-9 rules or guidance should:
Form I-9 Verification Process
Several stakeholders gave their views on Form I-9 completion for “remote hires” and the meaning of the phrase “the date employment begins.” Some stakeholders stated that it is difficult for employers to complete the Form I-9 process within three days of hire when the employer and employee are in separate locations. They emphasized that additional guidance is needed on how to complete the form within this timeframe and requested that employers be granted a greater amount of time in these situations. One recommendation to address remote hires was for USCIS to allow the United States Postal Service (USPS) to certify the Form I-9 and another suggestion was to use unemployment offices or other state agencies for this.
Stakeholders expressed differing views on how to define the date that employment begins. Currently, employers are to record the date the employee begins work (i.e. the start date) in Section 2 under the Certification part. Most stakeholders suggested this is the best date to use as they are better able to track when an employee physically begins work. However, some stakeholders noted that employers would prefer to use the date of offer and acceptance in this part, especially in the case of remote hires. One stakeholder stated that the offer and acceptance date is too ambiguous and one said that they liked the flexibility of using either date.
Several additional comments were made, including that:
Throughout the session, USCIS received views from individual stakeholders highlighting a number of areas with respect to which they would like to see new and/or additional guidance and educational resources, including:
At least one stakeholder suggested an online toolbox that includes resources related to Form I-9 and the current version of all documents (e.g. Form I-9, M-274, etc.), archived documents, links to sample documents, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), a link to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), links to ICE guidance, and links to TPS guidance. One stakeholder commented that archived documents should clearly indicate that they are outdated and that employers should be provided with a link to the most current versions.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website was referenced and a suggestion was made for USCIS to model the “Find an Answer, Ask a Question” section. In this section, the public would be able to research answers to common questions and also post questions that are not already addressed.
Some stakeholders commented that employers do not have time to read about new resources when they are published and suggested that a link to all current resources be included in the form instructions and also sent out to trade associations.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/06/2010