Revision of USCIS I-9 Handbook for Employers

Earlier this year, in conjunction with the release of the new Form I-9, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services published a revised version (rev. 3/8/13) of the M-274 Handbook for Employers.  Subsequently, without notice, USCIS released another version of the M-274 with a revision date of 4/30/13, but it is not clear when this new version of the M-274 was made available to the public.  Therefore, when consulting the Handbook to answer questions regarding I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification procedures, be sure to use the 4/30/2013 version, which is available online at

A few changes worth noting in the 4/30/13 version of the Handbook are as follows:

On pages 4 and 5, USCIS has added guidance regarding the entry of full legal names in Section 1 of the I-9, including directions to employees for recording two last names, only one name, and no middle initial, and for completing the “Other Names Used” field.  The new Handbook also clarifies that if an employee attests to being an “Alien Authorized to work,” the employee may provide either the Alien Registration number or the Form I-94 Admission number.  Employees who provide their “A-number” do not need to provide their passport information.

On page 6, USCIS confirms that common abbreviations for document titles and issuing authorities may be used in Section 2 of the I-9, such as “DL” for a driver’s license and “SSA” for the Social Security Administration.

Question 18 on page 43 in the 3/8/13 version of the Handbook that dealt with laminated and unsigned Social Security cards has been eliminated from the 4/30/2013 version.  That Question and Answer read as follows:

Q.  If my employee presents a Social Security card that is laminated or is unsigned, may I accept such a card as evidence of employment authorization?

A.  You may accept a laminated or unsigned Social Security card as long as the card reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it.  However, the Social Security Administration advises cardholders not to laminate Social Security cards.  Metal or plastic reproductions of Social Security cards are not acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.

Prior versions of the Handbook had stated that employers could accept laminated versions of Social Security cards unless the back of the card stated that it could not be laminated.  However, the removal of this question leaves unclear whether employers may accept unsigned cards.  Therefore, clarification on this issue is being requested from USCIS.

On page 44, the answer to Question 21 in the new Handbook version clarifies that List A under I-9 Section 2 has three sections for employers to provide information, rather than two sections.

If you have any questions regarding Form I-9, please contact our office.

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