As we previously reported, the government of Puerto Rico passed legislation that invalidates all Puerto Rican birth certificates issued before July 1, 2010. Recently, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published guidance on accepting new Puerto Rico Birth Certificates for the purpose of completing the I-9 Process. Here are the key things that you need to know.
Beginning Oct. 1, 2010, employers may only accept certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates that were issued on or after July 1, 2010. This means that if an employee presents a birth certificate issued by the Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the employer must look at the date the certified copy of the birth certificate was issued to ensure that it is valid.
Employers must not re-verify the employment eligibility of existing employees who presented a certified copy of a Puerto Rico birth certificate for Form I-9 purposes prior to Oct. 1, 2010.
Employers awarded a federal contract that contains the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause may need to update an existing I-9 or complete a new I-9 before submitting the information to E-Verify.
- If completing new I-9s for existing employees, beginning Oct. 1, 2010, employers may only accept certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates that were issued on or after July 1, 2010. As noted above, employers must look at the date the certified copy of the birth certificate was issued to ensure that it is valid. Prior to October 1, 2010, employers with FAR contracts may accept all certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates when completing new I-9s.
- If updating existing I-9s, an employer must not ask an employee to present a new Puerto Rico birth certificate.
See the E-Verify Supplemental Guide for Federal Contractors for more information on E-Verify and FAR requirements.
Employers who choose to make photocopies of documents that their employees present when completing Form I-9 must do so for all employees, regardless of national origin or citizenship status.
The USCIS guidance, released on September 9, 2010, is available on their website.