USCIS Issues Guidance for Form I-9 and E-Verify during Hurricane Season

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In September of 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – issued “Form I-9 and E-Verify Guidance during Hurricane Season” to remind employers that all Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification requirements remain in effect for areas affected by recent hurricanes and they must continue to complete and retain a Form I-9 for all workers they hire.

The USCIS Fact Sheet explains how employers must complete a Form I-9 for each new employee hired after November 6, 1986, to verify identity and employment authorization of employees to work in the United States as required by section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The DHS will continue to enforce all laws, rules, and regulations related to employment eligibility verification with respect to Form I-9 compliance.

Employers must ensure their newly hired employees properly complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than their first day of employment. Employers are required to physically examine the employee’s document(s) and complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment, according to the USCIS Fact Sheet.

If a new employee’s document is lost, stolen, or damaged within three business days of the first day of employment, they may present a receipt showing they applied for a replacement document that is valid for 90 days from the date of hire. Employees must provide the replacement document within 90 days from the date of hire. When an employee provides an acceptable receipt, the employer should:

  • Record the document title in Section 2 under List A, B, or List C, as applicable,
  • Write the word “receipt” and the document title and number in the Document Number space, and
  • Write the last day that the receipt is valid in the Expiration Date field.

When the employee presents the replacement document, the employer should cross out the word “receipt” and any accompanying document number and expiration date, record the number and other required document information from the actual document presented, and initial and date the change. Employers may also accept receipts if reverification is required for a current employee.

The E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification program remains available to employers in areas affected by recent hurricanes, both directly through the E-Verify web portal and through E-Verify employer agents. Any questions or issues related to using E-Verify from a remote location should be sent to E-Verify support at 888-464-4218 (for employers) or 888-897-7781 (for employees).

Employers cannot create a case in E-Verify if employees present a receipt showing they have applied to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged document and must wait until they receive a replacement document. E-Verify will ask employers unable to create a case within three business days of hire to enter a reason. Employers should select “Other” and type “Receipt provided. Awaiting actual Document” in the field.

In August of 2019, the USCIS informed employers to continue using the Form I-9 that expires on August 31, 2019, until a new edition was released: “Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9 currently available on I-9 Central, even after the expiration date of Aug. 31, has passed. We will provide updated information about the new version of the Form I-9 as it becomes available.”

Form I-9 audits of employers surged in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 as 5,981 Form I-9 audits were initiated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – another agency within the DHS – compared to 1,360 in FY 2017. The increase in worksite Form I-9 audits for employers was chosen by Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) as one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global provider of background checks – offers a robust Form I-9 and E-Verify solution that simplifies the process of verifying employment eligibility and capturing the required information to help employers maintain a legal workforce. To learn more about Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions from ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Form-I-9-E-Verify/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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