USCIS just issued a new update regarding the effect of birth certificate issued to the US citizens born in Puerto Rico, as a direct impact of a new regulation that went into effect in Puerto Rico recently. This new regulation now has an immeidate effect on all US employers regarding their I-9 compliance and revalidation.
Specifically, the Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico began issuing new, more secure certified copies of birth certificates to U.S. citizens born in Puerto Rico starting from July 1, 2010, because of a new Puerto Rico birth certificate law. After Sept. 30, 2010, all certified copies of birth certificates issued prior to July 1, 2010, will become invalid. This new law does not affect the U.S. citizenship status of individuals born in Puerto Rico. It only affects the validity of certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates.
How will this law impact the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) process?
Exisiting employees are NOT immediately affected and, in fact, US 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 and whose employment eligibility was verified on Form I-9 prior to Oct. 1, 2010.
However, all new hires AFTER October 1, 2010 will be required of the following:
- All certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates are acceptable for Form I-9 purposes through Sept. 30, 2010.
- Beginning Oct. 1, 2010, only certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates issued on or after July 1, 2010, are acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.
- Beginning Oct. 1, 2010, if an employee presents for List C 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 still valid.
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