INS on I-9 Changes

January 30, 1998

INS Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule to Simplify Employment Verification Process for Employer

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Immigration and Naturalization Service today announced the publication of a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Monday, February 2, which would reduce from 25to 13 the number of documents that employers may accept when verifying the employment eligibility of new hires. The proposed changes would affect all employers nationwide and all newly hired employees.

"The proposed rule reflects a comprehensive effort to simplify the Form I-9 verification process by reducing the number of documents acceptable for employment verification,"; said INS Commissioner Dorris Meissner. "Since these improvements will have an impact on all of our nation's employers and the people they hire, we welcome their feedback on our proposal. We will assess all public comments before we finalize and implement an improved I-9 process."

The proliferation of counterfeit documents has undermined the effectiveness of the Form I-9 employment verification process required by the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. For the past several years, INS has been combating document fraud by developing new counterfeit-resistant documents which utilize the latest technological advances.

The rule proposes a reduction in the number of acceptable documents for the Form I-9 employment verification process to simplify the process for employers and to eliminate certain documents that are easily counterfeited. The rule also implements the document reduction provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

This proposed rule begins the regulatory process by providing a 60-day public comment period. It does not immediately change the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9, or the list of 25 acceptable documents specified by regulation. Therefore, employers should continue to verify employment eligibility by completing the current version of the Form I-9 (dated November21, 1991) and accepting the documents permitted by regulation.[On September 30, 1997, an interim rule was published in the Federal Register that removed four "List" documents from the list of 29 documents specified on the reverse side of the Form I-9 --reducing the number of acceptable documents from 29 to 25. The four documents were: Certificate of United States Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561); Certificate of Naturalization(Form N-550 or N-570); Re-entry Permit (Form I-327); Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571). Also, two earlier regulation changes had been made to the list of 29 documents specified on the reverse side of the Form I-9. In 1996,the old version Alien Registration Receipt Card Form I-151 was no longer valid, and the new version Employment Authorization Document Form I-766 became an acceptable document.]

INS is accepting comments on the proposed rule by electronic mail, for the first time, to facilitate the public comment process. Instructions are included in the proposed rule, which can be found on INS' web site at beginning on February 2.

After the public comment period, INS will consider the comments, make changes accordingly, and publish a final rule, revised Form I-9, and revised Handbook for Employers (pub. M-274). The entire process to finalize regulations typically takes six months. INS will undertake a comprehensive public education effort to notify employers about the revised verification rules and inform them of how to obtain and complete the new Form I-9.

Below is the proposed list of 13 acceptable documents. Under the proposed rule employees continue to be required to present either one List A document, or one List B and one List C document for the Form I-9 verification process.

Proposed List A (Documents that establish both identity and employment eligibility.)

  • United States Passport
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551)
  • Temporary Resident Card (I-688)
  • Employment Authorization Document (I-766,I-688B, or I-688A)
  • Foreign Passport with temporary I-551stamp
  • For aliens authorized to work only for a specific employer, Foreign Passport with Form I-94 authorizing employment with this employer

List A documents already eliminated by the interim rule on September 30, 1997:

  • Certificate of United States Citizenship, Form N-560 or N-561
  • Certificate of Naturalization, Form N-550or N-570
  • Re-entry Permit, Form I-327
  • Refugee Travel Document, Form I-571

Proposed List B (Documents that establish identity only)

  • Driver's license issued by a state or outlying possession
  • ID card issued by a state or outlying possession
  • Native American tribal document
  • Canadian driver's license or ID card with a photograph (for Canadian aliens authorized to work only for a specific employer)

Current List B documents proposed to be eliminated:

  • Identification card issued by federal or local authorities
  • School identification card with a photograph
  • Voter's Registration Card
  • United States military card or draft record
  • Military dependent's identification card
  • United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
  • School record or report card, daycare or nursery school record, or clinic doctor or hospital record(for individuals under age 18 who are unable to produce an identity document)

Proposed List C (Documents that establish employment eligibility only)

  • Social Security account number card without employment restrictions
  • Native American tribal document
  • Form I-94 authorizing employment with this employer (for aliens authorized to work only for a specific employer)

Current List C Documents proposed to be eliminated:

  • Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State, Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350
  • Birth certificate issued by a State, county, municipal authority or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal
  • United States Citizen Identification Card, INS Form I-197
  • Identification card for use of a resident citizen in the United States, INS Form I-179
  • Employment authorization documents issued by INS other than those listed under List A

-- INS --

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 98020298.