The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently updated its Form I-9 receipt policy. As per the new policy, employees are allowed to present alternate documents to complete the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process when initially providing a receipt for a lost or damaged document.
As per Form I-9 regulations codified at 8 CFR §274a.2(b)(1)(vi), an employer must accept a receipt for the application for a replacement document instead of the required document as long as each of the following is true:
1. The employee is unable to provide the required document within 3-days of the employee starting work for pay because the document was lost, stolen, or damaged;
2. The employee presents a receipt for the application for the replacement document within that same 3-day window; and
3. The employee presents the replacement document within 90 days of the hire or, in the case of reverification, the date employment authorization expires.
Previously, workers who presented receipts for a lost, stolen, or damaged identity/ employment authorization document for I-9 verification were required, within 90 days, to produce the replacement document for which the receipt was issued. However, the feasibility of this norm was in question owing to document delays, changes in immigration status among other factors. COVID-19 delays, government office closures, and irregular work schedules have also made it difficult for employees to obtain their replacement documents.
Employers and HR managers have been worried about accepting an alternate document or combination of documents within the 90-day time frame in case an employee presents a receipt for a lost, stolen, or damaged document. After the announcement by USCIS, another acceptable document can now be provided as an alternative, within 90-days. Upon doing so, the employer is bound to complete a new Section 2 on Form I-9 and append it to the previously completed form. In addition to this, the employer should provide a note of explanation either in the Additional Information box included on page 2 of the Form I-9 or as a separate attachment. You may refer to the M-274 Handbook for further details.
Immigration attorneys believe that the new policy would also apply to receipts for lost, stolen, or damaged documents provided by an employee during the Form I-9 reverification process for employees with expiring work authorization. In such a case, the employer would have to complete a new Section 3 to record the replacement document.
Business owners in the U.S. consider this policy update as a rational step since accepting alternate documents that are valid and unexpired is beneficial for both employees and employers.
If you have any queries regarding this policy update, get in touch with OnBlick and we’ll help clarify your Form I-9 and E-Verify concerns.