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Form I9

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, 2012.

The new form incorporates several updates including:

Although 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.

Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation

Section 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 signed.

In addition 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:

Employees may 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.

Section 2: Employer Authorized Representative Review and Verification

Section 2 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.

Prior to 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 website.

Once examined 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.

Section 3: 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.

When rehiring 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.


Employers are 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 personnel records.

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 for Employers 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.


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