What Every Employer Needs to Know About I-9 Forms in 2024

What Every Employer Needs to Know About I-9 Forms in 2024

Every employer in the US is required to complete I-9 forms for each individual in their employ. These forms are verified by DHS to ensure that employees have the legal right to work in the United States. Failure to comply with I-9 forms appropriately can lead to hefty civil penalties. What’s more, the forms and processes were updated in 2023. Here is what every employer needs to know about I-9 forms this year.

Who must complete an I-9 form?

Every employee must complete an I-9 form and provide documentation. Independent contractors do not need to complete the form. If you’re not sure if you have an employee or an independent contractor, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you tell the individual when and where to work?
  • Do you tell the individual how to work?
  • Do you provide benefits to the individual, like paid sick time?
  • Do you pay the individual on an hourly or project basis?

The IRS can help you determine if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. If they are an employee, they must complete the I-9 before they start working.

The 3-day rule for employers

Section one of the I-9 form must be completed by the employee upon hire, and employers have just three days from the date of employment to review and approve documentation. It is vital that you follow through and complete I-9 forms and E-Verify your employees within the 3 day window. Allowing the employee to work when this has not been done is against the law, and may result in civil penalties.

Use the right I-9 forms

The I-9 forms were updated in August 2023, and this updated version is the only one accepted by DHS. Older forms are no longer accepted as of November 2023. As such, it is important to make sure that you have the most up to date I-9 form. You must use this form even if you use E-Verify.

The new I-9 forms have several changes, including:

  • Sections 1 & 2 are reduced to be on the same page
  • The form is now available in a fillable format for tablets and mobile devices
  • Updated list of Acceptable Documents
  • Simpler instructions
  • Reverification and rehire sections are now on a separate supplemental form

Another change is the addition of a checkbox under “Additional Information” in Section 2 that allows the employer to note if they reviewed documents remotely. This is now allowed for those employers already using E-Verify and in good standing on the platform.

How to verify I-9 for remote employees

Since you can now review documents remotely, it is possible to hire from anywhere in the country and still comply with I-9 forms. Simply send the fillable I-9 form to your employee for them to complete the first section, then have them upload their identity documents to a portal or secure email. You can review the documents remotely and use them to verify the employee in E-Verify. Make sure you check the box stating that you reviewed the documents remotely.

Do I need to retain copies of documentation?

You must retain copies of the documentation used to verify employees on the I-9 form while they are employed, even if you reviewed those documents remotely. This means that if you have remote employees for whom you electronically reviewed documents, you must maintain files of those electronic copies while they are employed. It is important that this information is stored securely and in accordance with state and federal law.

When to update I-9 forms

For most employees, I-9 forms will only need to be updated if there is a name change. For employees working on a visa or with other documentation, you will need to update the I-9 form when the documents expire. At that time, you will need to complete the Reverification and Rehire section of the I-9 package and get copies of new documents. This must be done within 3 days of the expiration of the old documents. You cannot allow employees to work who have expired documents.

Taking the guesswork out of I-9 forms

If you don’t have a dedicated human resources department, it is more likely that you will have mistakes on I-9 forms. Our firm can help you with training and information to help you ensure you are compliant. Still have question contact us for more information.