From hiring new employees to rehiring to changes in their information, employment Form I-9 is a crucial document. So, what do you need it for? How do you fill it out? And how do you know when to update it?
Below, we’re breaking down the steps and requirements for the Employment Eligibility Verification form that every employer needs to know.
What is Form I-9?
Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of people hired for employment in the United States.
Employers must fill out and retain Form I-9 for every employee they hire in the United States, including citizens and noncitizens. There are three sections that the employer and the employee must complete as applicable.
Several specific groups do not need to complete Form I-9:
- Individuals hired on or before November 6, 1986, who are continuing their employment.
- Employees hired in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on or before November 27, 2009.
- People employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular, or intermittent basis.
- Independent contractors or those employed by a contractor (e.g., temp agencies).
- Individuals not physically working in the U.S.
Basic Form I-9 Requirements
There are many Form I-9 requirements regarding when it must be filled out, necessary information, and supporting documents.
The employee must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 on or before their first day of employment (once they’ve accepted your job offer). They will also need to provide documents proving their identity and employment authorization, which the employer must verify.
Form I-9 includes a list of acceptable documents on the last page. The categories are:
- List A: Documents that show both identity and employment authorization
- List B: Documents that show only identity
- List C: Documents that show only employment authorization
How to Complete Form I-9
Section One: Employee Information and Attestation
Employees must enter their information in this section.
- Full legal name:
- Employees should include all names, even those with two last or first names.
- Employees with only one name should enter it in the Last Name field, then write “Unknown” in the First Name field.
- Employees should include hyphens (-) or apostrophes (‘) if their names have them.
- Employees with a middle name should enter their middle initial.
- Other legal last names used, including a maiden name, if applicable
- Current address, including the apartment number or letter if applicable
- Date of birth
- Check the appropriate box to indicate whether they are a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., or an alien authorized to work in the U.S.
- If applicable, employees should enter their Alien Number/USCIS Number, Form I-94 admission number, or foreign passport number (including country of issuance), and the date employment authorization expires.
- Signature and the date
Employees may also provide their:
- Social Security number (This is required if the employer participates in E-Verify.)
- Email address (so employees can receive email notifications from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] if the employer participates in E-Verify)
- Phone number
Employees must sign the form even if they receive help from a preparer or translator. The preparer or translator must also sign and date the certification on the form. If they did not use a preparer or translator, the employee must check the box marked “I did not use a preparer or translator.”
Once you receive your employee’s Form I-9, review the information to confirm:
- They filled out all required fields.
- They provided their Social Security number if you participate in E-Verify.
- They signed and dated the form.
- The preparer or translator completed, signed, and dated the Preparer/Translator section, if applicable.
Also, be sure to:
- Check whether the employee noted in Section 1 that their employment authorization would expire, meaning you may need to reverify their employment authorization at the expiration date.
- Check whether the expiration date for employment authorization they noted in Section 1 matches the expiration date on their proof of identity and employment authorization documents (List A or List C).
Section Two: Employer Review and Attestation
After turning the form in, the employer should complete Section 2 by the employee’s third workday.
Example: If the employee starts on a Monday, you must complete it by Thursday of that week.
If the job lasts less than three days, you must complete it by their first day of work.
Employees must provide original, unexpired documents that show their identity and employment authorization. They can present:
- One document from List A, or
- One document from List B and one document from List C
An employee may present an acceptable receipt in place of a List A, B, or C document. Note that receipts only temporarily satisfy this Form I-9 requirement. Employers that participate in E-Verify may only accept List B documents with a photo.
Now, you must examine the employee’s documentation and fill out and sign Section 2. You (or an authorized representative of your company, like an HR team member) must:
- Enter the employee’s last name, first name, middle initial, and enter the correct citizenship/immigration number in the “Employee Info from Section 1” area at the top of Section 2.
- Verify that the employee’s documentation is original and on the Lists of Acceptable Documents or is an acceptable receipt.
- Review each document to determine if it is genuine and relates to the employee presenting it. If you decide it does not, request that your employee provide other documentation from the Lists of Acceptable Documents.
- Enter the document title, issuing authority, number(s), and expiration date (if applicable) from the original document(s) your employee provided.
- Enter the date your employee began or will begin paid work.
- Enter the first and last name, signature, and title of the person completing Section 2, along with the completion date.
- Enter your business name and address. For companies with multiple locations, use the most appropriate address that identifies the employer’s location concerning the employee and their Form I-9 completion (e.g., the address where Form I-9 is completed).
- Return the employee’s documentation to them.
Regarding the employee’s employment start date, enter:
- A current date if Section 2 is completed the same day the employee begins paid employment.
- A past date if Section 2 is completed after the employee started paid employment. Enter the employee’s actual start date.
- A future date if Section 2 is completed after the employee accepts your job offer but before their start date. In this case, enter the expected start date; if the employee begins employment on a different date, cross out the scheduled start date and write in the correct start date. Date and initial the correction.
Section 3: Reverification and Rehires
You’ll need to complete Section 3 of Form I-9 when your employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired (i.e., reverification).
You may also complete this section when:
- You rehire an employee within three years of the date that Form I-9 was initially completed.
- Your employee has a legal name change.
You are not required to update Form I-9 when an employee has a legal name change, but it is best to keep the form updated and note any name changes in Section 3.
When filling out Section 3, be sure to enter the last name, first name, and middle initial fields from the top of Section 2.
When your employee’s employment authorization or documentation expires, you need to reverify that they are still authorized to work. Check Section 1 for the date that employment authorization expires and Section 2 for the date the employment authorization document expires.
If the dates do not match, use the earlier date to determine when reverification is necessary.
It’s best to remind them at least 90 days before the reverification deadline that they will need to provide a List A or List C document or acceptable receipt by that expiration date. If the employee has a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, pending with the USCIS, and the application has been pending for 75 days, your employee may contact the USCIS Contact Center.
You do NOT need to reverify:
- U.S. citizens and noncitizen nationals
- Lawful permanent residents who presented a Form I-551, Permanent Resident or Alien Registration Receipt card for Section 2, including conditional residents.
- List B documents
To complete Section 3, employers must:
- Review the unexpired documents to confirm authenticity. If you feel the document does not reasonably appear authentic and related to your employee, have them bring another document from the List of Acceptable Documents.
- If applicable, record the document title, document number, and expiration date.
- Sign and date Section 3.
If you rehire an employee within three years of the date that their previous Form I-9 was completed, you may either complete a new Form I-9 or complete Section 3 of the previous form.
Employers completing Section 3 for rehire must:
- Review the original Form I-9 to ensure accuracy and determine if the employee is still authorized to work. This includes checking their employment authorization documentation (List A or List C) in Section 2.
- If the employee is still authorized to work and their documentation is still valid, enter the rehire date in the relevant field in Section 3.
- If the employee’s List A and List C documents have expired, request updated records for reverification. Then, enter the updated information and the rehire date in the relevant fields in Section 3. If the current version of Form I-9 varies from the original form, complete Section 3 on the current version.
- Sign and date Section 3.
Enter the appropriate dates:
- When rehiring a former employee, enter the date the employee begins paid employment in Block B (this can be a future date).
- When reverifying your employee, enter the date the employee’s new work authorization document expires in Block C.
- Sign Section 3 and include the date of completion.
Assistance with Employment Form I-9
Do you have further questions regarding employment Form I-9? If you have a unique situation with an employee, the reverification or rehiring process can lead to some confusion. It’s vital to follow the Form I-9 requirements for all relevant employees.
If you need guidance or simply want to ensure compliance, contact BlueLion today at 603-818-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our HR experts will be happy to walk you through the Employment Eligibility Verification Form.
The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.