Saturday, November 26, 2022

New Form I-9: Answers to Common Questions

On January 31, 2020, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published and posted on its website a new Form I-9, which employers should now begin using.

Employers who hired an employee after January 31 may use the old form until April 30, 2020, when they must start using the new Form I-9.

The new Form I-9 and instructions may be downloaded from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Common Form I-9 Questions

The following questions concerning Form I-9s have recently come up on the California Chamber of Commerce Labor Law Helpline:

• Do all of my employees have to fill out the new form?

No. When new forms are issued by the USCIS, existing employees are not required to fill out a new form. As long as employees completed a current Form I-9, listed acceptable identity and work authorization documents, provided unexpired original documents to the employer to view, and signed and dated the form at the time of hire, they are not required to fill out a new Form I-9.

• Am I required to give new hires a copy of the 15 pages of instructions when I have them fill out the Form I-9?

No. While the I-9 instructions must be provided to all new hires at the time that the form is filled out, you are not required to give each employee a copy. The instructions may be retained and used for other new hires.

• I have Spanish-speaking employees. Can they complete the Spanish Form I-9?

No. You may provide the Spanish Form I-9 and instructions as an aid to Spanish-speaking employees, but the Form I-9 must be completed in English.

• I know that a parent or guardian may complete a section on the Form I-9 when the employee is a minor who cannot present a List B document, but who should sign the form—the minor or the parent?

Neither the employee nor the parent should sign the Form I-9 when the employee is a minor. The USCIS Handbook for Employers M-274 requires that you insert the following sentence in the signature block in lieu of a signature whenever an employee is under 18 years of age and cannot present a List B document: “Individual Under Age 18.” Then the parent or guardian should complete the Preparer and/or Translator Certification field.

[Question and answer above updated 5/8/2020.]

• If a new hire does not provide a Social Security number (SSN), does that invalidate the I-9?

No. Even though there is a space on the form for the employee to put an SSN, the USCIS requires an SSN only if the employer participates in the E-Verify Program. If that is the case, the employee must provide the SSN.

• Can I complete Section 1 for an employee who is having a hard time filling out the form?

Yes. You may act as a preparer or a translator on the Form I-9, but you must then fill out the section which indicates that you acted as the preparer or translator and sign the form. The employee also is required to sign the form.

Handbook for Employers

For answers to other questions you may have, please see the Handbook for Employers M-274, which is available on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov, or contact the CalChamber Labor Law Helpline.


Column based on questions asked by callers on the Labor Law Helpline, a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.

Staff Contact: Sunny Lee

Sunny Lee
Sunny Lee
Sunny Lee joined the CalChamber in 1995 and currently is an HR adviser. Before joining the CalChamber staff, Lee represented employers in state and federal court and before governmental agencies. She has extensive dispute resolution experience, having served as a court mediator in harassment cases, employment disputes and business litigation. She has trained employers and conducted audits of employment practices. Lee earned a J.D. from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

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