By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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The USCIS has announced employers should continue to use the current version of the I-9 form, with an expiration date of March 31, 2016, until further notice. USCIS will provide updated information about the new version of I-9 form as it becomes available.

Additionally, on March 28, 2016, USCIS announced individuals have an additional 30 days to comment on proposed changes to the I-9 form. Thus, the new deadline is April 27, 2016. Key proposed changes to the I-9 form include:

• Validations on certain fields to ensure information is entered correctly;
• Drop-down lists, including a list of “universally used abbreviations”;
• In Section 1, “Other Names Used” field will be replaced with “Other Last Names Used” (so no more listings of Bubba);
• Embedded instructions for completing each field;
• clarifies the proper use of the Spanish version of the I-9 form in the instructions and discusses using it as a translation tool;
• Buttons that will allow users to access the instructions electronically, print the form and clear the form to start over;
• A dedicated area to enter additional information that employers are currently required to notate in the margins of the form;
• A quick-response matrix barcode, or QR code, that generates once the form is printed that can be used to streamline audit processes;
• Removing the requirement that aliens authorized to work provide both their Form I-94 number and foreign passport information in Section 1;
• Separating instructions from the form, in keeping with USCIS practice;
• Adding a Supplement in cases where more than one preparer or translator is used to complete Section 1; and
• Explains in the instructions that asylees and refugees are good examples of those who should check “An alien authorized to work”.

The USCIS is looking for feedback in four areas: I-9 form’s usefulness; burden on employers and new hires; the quality, utility, and clarity of the information requested; and any improvements which can minimize the employer’s burden.