Form I-9 Compliance
On March 8,
2013, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an updated
Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to replace the previous version that expired August 31,
The new form
incorporates several updates including:
employers may continue to use the previous Form I-9 until May 7, 2013, it is
recommended that they begin using the new form immediately.
What is an I-9 Form?
Form I-9 confirms
an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States. Since its
inception on November 6, 1986, the I-9 form has helped to ensure that workers
are U.S. citizens or aliens who are authorized to work in the U.S. All
employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each and every worker
employed on or after November 6, 1986.
Form I-9 is divided
into three sections: Employee Information and Attestation; Employer Authorized
Representative Review and Verification; and Reverification and Rehires.
Employee Information and Attestation
1 must be completed and signed by a new employee no later than the first day of
employment. Although the form may be
completed prior to the employee’s first day of work, it should, under no
circumstances, be completed prior to acceptance of the job offer. Although
a Spanish version is available, it is for use exclusively in Puerto Rico.
Spanish-speaking employers and employees outside of Puerto Rico may reference
the Spanish version, but it is the English version that must be completed, signed
and retained. If a
preparer and/or translator assists with section 1, the Preparer and/or Translator Certification area must be completed and
to completing the form, employees are required to present one or more documents
as evidence of identity and employment authorization. The USCIS has provided
the following table outlining which documents may be accepted for this purpose:
choose to present a single document from List A, or they may select to submit a
combination of any one document from List B along with another from List C.
Employers may not require specific document(s) be presented. Employers may
elect to keep copies of the document(s), although it is not required. It is
important, however, to be consistent; therefore employers should retain document
copies from all employees or none at all.
Employer Authorized Representative Review and Verification
must be completed by the employer no later than the third day of employment,
unless the worker is hired to work for fewer than three days; in that case,
section 2 must be completed by the end of the first day of employment.
completing section 2, the employer must review section 1 to ensure that it was
filled in properly and completed on time. Employers (or their authorized
representative) must then examine each document presented by the employee to
determine that it relates to the person presenting it and appears genuine. The
USCIS provides additional information on how to reasonably determine document
authenticity on their
for authenticity, the document(s) presented by the employee must be recorded.
The same person who examined the document(s) must then complete and sign the
Certification area of section 2.
Reverification and Rehires
Prior to the
expiration of a List A or List C document, the employer must reverify the employee’s
employment authorization unless the employee is a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national
or lawful permanent resident who presented Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card)
for section 2. The employee being reverified must produce an unexpired
employment authorization document from List A or List C.
an employee within three years of the completion of the employee’s previous
Form I-9, the employer has the option to complete section 3 or a new I-9 form.
required to retain a Form I-9 for all current employees. If an employee terminates employment, the
form must be on file for one year after the employment ends or three years
after the date of hire, whichever is later. All Forms I-9 need to be kept in a
file separate from the employee’s main employment records because, in the case
of an audit, the auditor should have access to only the Forms I-9 and no other
It is very
important to keep these forms for every employee as there are significant fines
associated with not having them on file. It is also important to note that
there are significant penalties that can be levied against businesses that
employ persons who are not legally able to work in the United States.
Form I-9 Resources
The USCIS has
extensive information available for employers and employees alike in the I-9 Central area of their website. Their Handbook
includes step-by-step instructions, examples of completed forms, samples of
List A, B and C documents and a full explanation of penalties for prohibited
practices. The Handbook for Employers also provides guidelines for document
requirements for minors and some employees with disabilities.