USCIS is seeking public comments on its proposed revised Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification form). As all employers in the United States are aware, employers must complete the Form I-9 for all newly-hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States.

Highlights of the proposed changes include:
• The 5-page form and instructions would expand to 9 pages, with nearly 6 pages of instructions
• “Employers” is defined in the instructions
• “Time of hire” is redefined as “no later than the first day of work for pay”
• Last name has been clarified to include “two last names or a hyphenated last name”
• Employees are instruction to note, “N/A” if they have no maiden name
• P.O. boxes are no longer acceptable in the address field
• An email and telephone number field has been added (to assist DHS in contacting the employee)
• The citizenship or immigration status boxes have been defined
• A new set of instructions for minors and certain disabled employees
• The Thursday Rule (providing for completion of section 2 prior to close of business on the Thursday after a Monday hire) is identified and authorized
• Specific instructions are provided to employers hiring foreign students
• Employers are authorized to receive expired documents and receipt notices is certain instances
• Attempts by employers to use section 3 to reverify U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents is strictly prohibited
• The election as an “alien authorized to work” has been greatly expanded to include separate sections for alien registration/USCIS number identification (limited to 9 digits) AND for aliens presenting an I-94 (expanded to 11 digits)
• An alien authorized to work utilizing an I-94 is also required to include his/her foreign passport number and country of issuance
• The list of acceptable documents has two significant changes: the List A foreign passport/I-94 combination is divided into subparts, and the List C Social Security Card section now provides examples of the annotations that make the card invalid for I-9 purposes
The current I-9 form and instructions are accompanied by a 63-page manual. The new form and instructions likely will come with a longer manual, which has yet to be released.

Employers interested in providing comments are encouraged to contact counsel to discuss how to effectively express how the proposal will affect their ability to conduct profitable business. Comments must be submitted by May 29, 2012.