Homeland Security: Employers can no longer use expired documents in hiring

Beginning in February, employers in the United States will not be allowed to use expired documents to verify workers' employment eligibility.

The interim rule, published on Wednesday in the Federal Register by the Homeland Security Department, aims to streamline the employment eligibility verification process and crack down on fraud. As of Feb. 2, 2009, expired U.S. passports or state-issued driver's licenses and other outdated identification cards will no longer qualify as valid documentation for Form I-9. Social Security cards will not be affected by the change because they do not expire.

"Expired documents are prone to fraudulent use in the Form I-9 process by aliens seeking unauthorized employment," the Federal Register notice stated.

Employers must fill out Form I-9 for all new hires to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States. The form, mandated by the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act, is a key component of DHS' controversial Electronic Employment Verification System. Employers still can use the paper version, but there also is I-9 software that integrates identification information into E-Verify.

New hires can present various forms of identification to prove their work eligibility. The list of approved documents is divided into three categories: List A, which includes documents that verify identity and employment authorization; List B, which confirms identity only; and List C, which certifies employment authorization only. U.S. passports are included on List A, while driver's licenses fall into category B. Workers must either provide one document from List A, or one document each from lists B and C.

The interim rule also eliminates several types of identification included on List A: temporary resident cards and older versions of the employment authorization card/document (Forms I-688, I-688A and I-688B). DHS no longer issues those forms of ID.

While the new regulation takes effect on Feb. 2, the department is accepting comments and could modify the final rule.