USCIS Issues Final Rule on Documents Accepted for Form I-9

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The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on April 15 issued a final rule in the Federal Register (76 Fed. Reg. 21,225) that alters the list of acceptable identity documents for the I-9 employment eligibility verification process.

The rule finalizes without change a 2008 interim final rule (59 BTM 403, 12/16/08) requiring that only unexpired documents be presented during the verification process and eliminating several documents from the acceptable list that are no longer issued by USCIS. The final rule takes effect May 16.

The list of approved documents employees can present to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States is divided into three sections: list A documents that verify identity and employment authorization, list B documents that verify only identity, and list C documents that verify only employment authorization.

The rule eliminates list A forms I-688, I-688A, and I-688B, which are temporary resident cards and older versions of the employment authorization card. The rule also adds to List A the new U.S. passport card; the temporary Form I-551, or permanent resident card that includes a machine-readable immigrant visa; and documentation for certain citizens for the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Identity Theft Remains Top Challenge for E-Verify

Meanwhile, witnesses at an April 14 hearing of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee agreed that the top challenge facing E-Verify, the federal government's electronic employment verification program, is preventing undocumented workers from stealing and using the identity of an authorized worker.

Richard M. Stana, director of homeland security and justice at the Government Accountability Office, outlined improvements that have been made to E-Verify, including a sharp decline in the number of tentative nonconfirmations (TNCs) issued through the system. Several years ago about 8 percent of workers screened through E-Verify received a TNC, compared with 2.6 percent in fiscal year 2009 and 1.7 percent in fiscal year 2010, he said.

Stana said DHS has sought to address the identity theft problem by creating a photo-matching tool that allows an employer to view a picture of the employee from a green card, an employment authorization document, or a passport to determine whether the employee is in fact the person to whom the identification document was issued.

Although the photo tool begins to address the problem, the number of photos included still is minimal compared with the most common documents presented for employment verification, Stana said.

Text of the final Form I-9 rule can be accessed at

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