I-9 Forms Electronic Storage Requirements Finalized in New DHS Regulation

On July 22, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized a regulation designed to provide more flexibility for employers wishing to electronically sign and store I-9 forms.

I-9 forms, which have been the target of increased audit activity lately, are used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to verify employment eligibility.

Previously, employers were required to store paper I-9 forms for later inspection by DHS and ICE. In 2006, DHS adopted rules permitting electronic storage of employment verification forms. These rules, which were consistent with the electronic storage rules for tax records, were still fairly inflexible and cumbersome for employers to apply. In recognition of this fact and in response to comments received from the public, the new rule gives employers more flexibility, including more options for data compression, fewer storage requirements, and additional options for storage systems.

In addition, the new rule clarifies some areas of confusion in the prior regulation. For instance, the new rule makes clear that employers have three business days to complete Section 2 of Form I-9, whereas the former regulation simply provided for completion "within three days." Among other changes, the new rule also specifies the audit trail that must be maintained with electronic I-9 storage methods.

For further information on the new DHS I-9 regulation, please click here.

Categories: Immigration Blog