Understanding Form I-9

Q: I have heard that the federal government has issued a new Form I-9. Is that true? If so, when are we required to begin using the new form?

A: All employers are responsible for verifying the identity and eligibility of employees to work in the United States if those employees were hired after November 6, 1986. As employers, churches must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification form for each new employee. This form is better known as Form I-9.

Form I-9 is not an IRS form and is not filed with any government agency. However, it is important for churches to be familiar with this form because they can be assessed fines for failing to comply with the requirements summarized below.

In 2007, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security released an updated Form I-9. Be sure to use the current form rather than the previous form. The new Form I-9 contains a number of changes, including the following: (1) five documents were removed from List A (documents establishing identity and employment eligibility), and one document was added; (2) all employment authorization documents with photographs have been consolidated as one item on List A; (3) the Form I-9 instructions now indicate that the employee is not required to provide his or her Social Security number in Section 1 of the Form I-9, unless he or she is employed by an employer who participates in E-Verify; (4) employers may now sign and retain Forms I-9 electronically.

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Posted: January 25, 2008
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