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By Immigration Group

This article was prepared with the assistance of ABIL, the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers, of which Loan Huynh, Fredrikson Immigration Department Chair, is a member.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently clarified Form I‑9 guidance related to Native American Tribal documents in M‑274, Handbook for Employers.

The handbook explains that a Native American Tribal document is an official Tribal or community membership document issued by a Native American Indian Tribe, or an Alaska Eskimo or Aleut community, that is recognized by the U.S. federal government. A Tribal or community membership document that is issued by a Tribe or community that is not recognized by the U.S. federal government is not acceptable for Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes.

USCIS noted that because federal recognition of Tribes and communities can change over time, employers should check the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) website to determine if the Tribe or community that issued the membership document is federally recognized. USCIS provided guidance to determine if a document is acceptable as evidence of both identity and employment authorization, or only for identity purposes.

The agency also published new guidance regarding T nonimmigrants (victims of human trafficking) and U nonimmigrants (victims of certain other crimes) in the handbook.

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