Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

DHS Issues Interim Rule on I-9 Verification Documents

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations governing the types of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents and receipts that employees may present to their employers for employment authorization verification (Form I-9). The interim rule (PDF), effective February 9, 2009:

  • requires that all documents presented during the verification process be unexpired;
  • eliminates List A identity and employment authorization documentation forms I-688, I-688A, and I-688B (Temporary Resident Card and outdated Employment Authorization Cards);
  • adds foreign passports containing certain machine-readable immigrant visas to List A;
  • adds to List A as evidence of identity and employment authorization valid passports for citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), along with Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI ; and
  • makes technical updates.

The DHS noted that it issues temporary I-551 stamps to legal permanent residents (LPRs) on either unexpired foreign passports or the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94), to serve as temporary documentation of LPR status while they wait for the actual Form I-551. Although the regulations refer to temporary I-551 “stamps,” the DHS noted that the Department of State has been affixing machine-readable immigrant visas (MRIVs) that contain a pre-printed temporary I-551 notation in the foreign passports of those immigrating to the U.S. for several years. The pre-printed temporary I-551 notation is triggered after the bearer is admitted to the U.S. as an LPR. To update the regulations to reflect this alternate temporary I-551 document, this rule modifies the reference in List A [8 CFR 274a.2(b)(1)(v)(A)(3)] to temporary I-551 stamps on unexpired foreign passports to include pre-printed temporary I-551 notation on MRIVs. Because the pre-printed notation is not included on the I-94, this rule does not make any changes to regulatory references to temporary I-551 stamps on I-94s.

The rule also updates the list of acceptable documents and receipts by including “Form I-94A” next to each reference to the I-94 because the I-94A is nearly identical to the I-94 except that all fields are computer-generated rather than annotated by hand.

The interim rule also replaces the term “employment eligibility” with “employment authorization.” The amended I-9 form reflecting these and other form-related changes was published as an attachment to this rule for “informational purposes.” USCIS’s Web site still has the version of the I-9 form that was revised June 5, 2007.

See also: Q&A List

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.