Skip to content

While the inauguration of the new President will likely have more long-term impact on labor, employment and immigration laws, in the more immediate future every employer in the U.S. will be immediately impacted by the new Form I-9 this weekend.  Although this new change is legacy to the Obama administration, unless President Trump issues some orders immediately upon taking office on Friday or the day after the new Form I-9 may be the first impactful HR matter during the new President’s term.


  • The government made the I-9 “smart.” This means that on its website you can access a smart form which should make it easier to complete. Ready-made with drop-down boxes, fillable boxes, auto-fill, and clear all buttons, the smart I-9 form should help to eliminate many of the minor completion errors that we so often encounter in our race to complete the I-9. Use is not mandatory, but many employers might find it helpful.

  • While “smart” the form is not smart enough to be in Spanish for Puerto Rico employers. Spanish forms are only available in paper.

  • There are no substantive changes to the documents we may consider when reviewing work authority.

  • There is a new “comments” box in Section 2, which should be very helpful in organizing changes or clarifications to the I-9 that we might make after-the-fact when auditing.

  • In Section 1 there are boxes one of which will need to be marked by employees regarding the use of a preparer or translator.

  • There are no changes to Section 3.

  • The new instructions attached to the I-9 have been greatly expanded from 6 to 15 pages.

  • There is likely to be a new M-274 employer handbook for everything I-9 related to be issued, but it is unclear when the delivery date for that will be.

  • If you have already begun using the Form I-9 that is great; if you have not you must do so for all newly hired or certain rehired employees and revivifications beginning on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

  • The government has a multitude of resources on all things Form I-9 which you can find on its (fancy) I-9 portal, located at –; the new smart and non-smart form can additionally be found at –

Thompson Coe and myHRgenius Tip of the Week is not intended as a solicitation, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


Subscribe to myHRgenius for unlimited expert help.

Find out more about the program and subscribe today.

Learn More

Related People

Kevin M. Mosher

Kevin M. Mosher


Related Resources