Verifying Employee Work Eligibility with the New I-9

Colorado no longer has a state verification form.

It used to be that a Colorado employer had to affirm an employee’s legal work status within 20 days of hiring, to show that the employer had not knowingly hired an alien who was not authorized to work. That law has changed. Colorado employers no longer have to fill out a verification form specific to Colorado. However, employers still have to follow federal I-9 requirements.

The new federal I-9 form is required after January 22, 2017.

A new I-9 form came out November 14, 2016. It must be used for all hires after January 22, 2017. The employer must fill it out within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment. The employer is required to physically examine documents that prove the employee’s status. There is also a Spanish version of the form.

The form hasn’t changed much, but it’s “smart.”

While there are penalties for filling out the wrong version of the form, not much has changed. The form is very similar to the last I-9 form, but this one is a “smart form” that is filled out by computer. This means that an older version of Adobe may not read it correctly. It also means that the form itself has some coaching tools embedded in it, such as calendars and explanations. Plus, the form will check itself and ask you for more relevant information if needed. Note that the form must be printed out, signed, and dated manually, not electronically.

There are a few small changes from the old I-9. For employees, the “Other Names Used” box has now become “Other Last Names.” But you can’t leave the field blank—the employee would have to put N/A. Also, the employee must indicate whether or not he or she used a preparer or translator and provide some relevant information.

Some of the employee’s information will populate in the employer’s section. The employer verifies documents in the same way as before. You can choose one document from List A or one each from List B and List C. The employer cannot use a P.O. Box for a business address, which is annoying if that really is your business address. Again, the form will check itself and ask for corrections.

For a nice video explanation on how to fill out the form, see the following link:

How long do you keep the form?

Once the form is filled out, the employer keeps it and must make it available to either federal or state authorized government officials upon request. The employer does not file the document. However, the I-9 must be kept for three years after the date of hire, or one year after employment termination, whichever is later.

Because of the generality of the information on this site, it may not apply to a given place, time, or set of facts. It is not intended to be legal advice, and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations