Employers Should Review Form I-9 for Social Security Number Glitch

We received the following email from the USCIS about a form I-9 glitch:

If you used Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, that you downloaded between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17, 2016, review them to ensure your employees’ Social Security numbers appear correctly in Section 1. There was a glitch when the revised Form I-9 was first published on Nov. 14, 2016. Numbers entered in the Social Security number field were transposed when employees completed and printed Section 1 using a computer. For example, the number 123-45-6789 entered in the Social Security number field would appear as 123-34-6789 once the form printed. Employers using a Form I-9 that contains this glitch should download and save a new Form I-9 at uscis.gov/i-9.

Employers who notice their employees’ Social Security numbers are not written correctly should have their employees draw a line through the transposed Social Security number in Section 1, enter the correct Social Security number, and then initial and date the change. Employers should include a written explanation with Form I-9 about why the correction was made in the event of an audit.

USCIS immediately repaired and reposted the form on Nov. 17, 2016.

Badmus commentary:  Employers should be aware, however, the social security number on the I-9 form is optional. In other words, employees are not required to provide their social security number on the form unless the employer participates in the E-Verify program.  Also, if the employee does not yet have a social security number but are work eligible, he or she can work while waiting for the number.  The USCIS specifically advises: “You may not ask employees to provide you a specific document with their Social Security number on it. To do so may constitute unlawful discrimination.”  USCIS Handbook for Employers

Published by Ann Massey Badmus

Ann Badmus helps foreign national medical providers and their employers successfully cut through immigration red tape for fast and timely employment. Through her unique Immigration Prescription Program, she skillfully solves even the most complex immigration problems. Her comprehensive and clear advice has helped thousands of providers, employers, and recruiters avoid immigration delays, saving time and expense and providing a stress-free experience for all. Ann is frequently invited to speak about immigration issues before various organizations, including medical associations such as the American Academy of Neurology. She has also published numerous immigration articles and has authored a well-received book, The Immigration Prescription: The Practical Guide to Immigration for Foreign Born Physicians.

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