Immigration Updates: I-9 Form and Changes to E Visa Validity Period for French Citizens
Continue Using Expiring Form I-9 Until Further Notice from USCIS
Although the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is set to expire on August 31, 2019, employers should continue to use the expiring/expired form until further notice from USCIS. On March 1, 2019 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a proposal to extend the validity period of the Form I-9 and solicited comments from the public on potential changes to the form. Presumably because it received a very small number of comments from the public during the initial 60-day comment period, USCIS extended the comment deadline further, to July 5, 2019. At this time, USCIS has not yet made an announcement regarding extension of the existing Form I-9 or publication of a new Form I-9.
As a reminder, the Form I-9 expiration date appears in the top right-hand corner of the form.
We will provide an update as soon as USCIS makes an announcement regarding the newest version of Form I-9.
Major Change to E Visa Validity Period for French Citizens
The Department of State (DOS) has announced that effective August 29, 2019 it is reducing the validity period of E-1 and E-2 visa stamps issued to French citizens from 60 months (5 years) to 15 months. As a reminder, the E visa is available to nationals of countries with which the United States has entered into a treaty of commerce and navigation, if the applicant and the applicant’s U.S. employer both meet the strict criteria for qualifying in this visa category.
DOS indicates that the reason it is reducing the validity period of the E visa stamp for French citizens is to align the validity period with the validity period of visas granted by France to U.S. citizens.
As a reminder, the purpose of a visa stamp is to afford the visa holder the right to request admission to the United States in that visa classification. A visa petition or application may be approved for a period that exceeds the validity period of the visa stamp in the individual’s passport. A person may enter the United States as long as his or her visa stamp is still valid, and may remain in the United States for the period of time for which he/she has been admitted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as indicated on Form I-94. The authorized period of stay as indicated on form I-94 often extends well beyond the expiration of the visa stamp itself. In most circumstances, the visa holder with an expiring or expired visa stamp who then travels abroad must secure a new visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate in order to return to the United States.
Accordingly, future French recipients of E visa stamps will need to return to a U.S. Consulate more frequently to apply for a new E visa if they want to travel outside of the United States while working in E visa status.