Compliance with Form I-9 requirements can be challenging and penalties
for non-compliance are stiff. Using this checklist each time a form is
completed, can help.
Section 1. Employee Information and Verification:
- Complete after the employee is hired, but before work commences.
- Give the employee a Form I-9 (all pages including instructions).
- All fields must be properly completed, including citizenship attestation.
- A Lawful Permanent Resident must provide an 8- or 9-digit Alien Number.
- An Alien Authorized to Work must provide the date work authorization
expires and an Alien number or an 11-digit Admission number from the
- Form must be signed and dated or it is not valid.
- If the employee receives assistance in completing the form or needs
a translator, that person must fill out the block marked “Preparer/Translator
Certification.” The employee must sign the form.
- Note employers and employees in Puerto Rico ONLY
may fill out the Spanish version of Form I-9. Spanish-speaking employers
and employees in the 50 states and other U.S. territories may print
this for their reference, but may only complete the form in English
to meet employment eligibility verification requirements.
Section 2. Employer Review and Verification:
To be completed no later than the employee’s third workday
by the employer
- After Section 1 is complete, ask the employee to provide acceptable
documents verifying identity and employment eligibility.
- Provide the employee with a list the list of acceptable documents
as on the back of the current I-9 form. Let the
employee choose the documents; do not request specific documents. It is a good idea to
post the acceptable document list where I-9 forms will be completed
and to include it in offer letters. Employees may present any List
A document or one from List B and one from List C.
- Accept only original documents. Do not accept more documents than
Review the documents and if they appear legitimate record the document
type, number and expiration date. Photocopies are allowed, but are
not required. Be consistent and follow the same practice for all new
hires. If the documents are copied, they need to be retained
with the I-9 form. If in doubt about the validity of the documents,
contact legal counsel or HR.
- Do NOT accept expired documents.
- Review the section for completeness. Be sure that the first day of
employment is entered.
- The person who examined the documents must sign and date the form.
- If the employee does not provide acceptable documents by the third
workday, employment should not continue.
- If the employee has a “delay” letter/receipt saying
he/she has applied for the document(s), the receipt authorizes employment
for 90 days from the date it is accepted. Most official delay letters
are acceptable. Use the information on the letter to complete the I-9.
If in doubt, contact legal counsel.
Section 3. Updating and Reverification:
Only use this section when the
employee’s work authorization has changed or has a new expiration
date. This applies to work authorization documents and not to List
B identity documents. Also reverification of eligibility of persons
who present a U.S. Passport or Permanent Resident or Alien Registration
Card (Form I-551) is not required. Although the document may expire,
the right to work does not.
- Ask the employee to produce a new employment eligibility document
of his or her choosing and follow same procedure as Section 2.
Retention of Completed I-9:
- Employers do not file the I-9 with the federal government. Rather,
an employer is required to keep an I-9 form on file for three years
after the date of hire AND one year after the date the employee's employment
is terminated. Both parts of the test must be met. In effect this means
that you have to have an I-9 for all employees hired after Nov. 6,
1986 who are current employees or who terminated in the last year.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency conducts
routine workplace audits to ensure that employers are properly completing
and retaining I-9 forms, and that employee information on I-9 forms
matches government records.
- Federal I-9 forms should be kept separate from employee personnel
files. These should never be co-mingled with the other employee records
because they contain information on citizenship, race, color, age and
national ancestry that can be used for illegal discrimination.
- Develop a system such as a tickler file for I-9 forms that contain
employment authorization expiration dates and require reverifaction.
- Conduct periodic self-audits to ensure that your forms are in order.