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What churches need to know about the I-9 form

By Rollie Dimos | Compensation & Payroll

Q: What is the I-9 Form, and do churches have to use it?

A: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9 has been required since November 6, 1986 and is used to verify a new employee’s identity and employment authorization.

A new version of USCIS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, was made available in August, 2023 and must be used by all employers beginning November 2023. Now only one page long, the new edition is easier for employers and employees and has clearer instructions. Federal law requires every employer, including churches, to complete this form whenever the employer “recruits, refers for a fee, or hires an individual for employment in the U.S.” Previous versions of the form will no longer be valid for verifying new employees after October 31, 2023.  For any employee hired after October 31, 2023, the new form should be used. However, employees who were hired, and filled out the appropriate I-9 form, before November 1, 2023 do not have to complete a new form. As long as the employee completed the appropriate version of the form upon hiring, the employee does not have to fill out a new version of the form.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), prohibits employers from hiring individuals without completing the employment eligibility verification process documented through Form I-9.

Occasional updates are made to this form. However, as long as the employee completed the appropriate version of the form upon hiring, the employee does not have to fill out a new version of the form when it is released.

(Important Note: There are times when a new form is required such as re-verifying the employee because his or her work authorization is expiring. Please see the USCIS I-9 website for more information.)

The USCIS has helpful information about this form, including instructions and a link to the most recent version, at the I-9 Central webpage


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