I-9 Form: Definition and Legal Requirements


The I-9 type is a Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) doc used to confirm an individual’s eligibility to work within the US. Staff present identification equivalent to a Social Safety card and driver’s license or passport. The employer then bodily verifies these paperwork to substantiate the worker’s work eligibility. Each employer and worker full and signal the shape.

Download I-9 Form Here

How the I-9 Kind Works

The I-9 type helps a Homeland Safety process that ensures US employers hire solely those that have the correct work eligibility and identification paperwork. When employers are studying what an I-9 type is and the way it works, it’s necessary to level out that they’re accountable for getting it accomplished inside three days of their start date.

Listed below are the fundamental necessities to complete an I-9 form appropriately:

  • Request ID: New staff should present ID to finish the I-9 type inside three days of rent.
  • Confirm ID: You bodily affirm the worker’s ID as proof of eligibility and doc it on the shape.
  • File the I-9: You make a copy of the finished and signed I-9 type in a safe folder.

The signed I-9 type ought to be saved within the firm’s enterprise workplace in case your enterprise is audited or a authorities agent from the Division of Labor (DOL), DHS, or immigration services requests to see a duplicate. It shouldn’t be saved in an worker’s personnel file as a result of confidential data that’s on it. You don’t want to ship or mail it to any authorities company.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Companies (USCIS) requires you to retain I-9 paperwork for one yr. Some states could have longer payroll document retention requirements. It’s dangerous to maintain the paperwork longer than they’re wanted since I-9 types include confidential worker data. If that data is used inappropriately, your enterprise could also be held liable.

Downloadable & Printable I-9 Types

Essentially the most updated I-9 form will be discovered on the DHS USCIS web site. The I-9 type itself is three pages, and the directions are an extra 15 pages. Each the shape and the directions can be found in English and Spanish (nevertheless, solely staff in Puerto Rico could full the Spanish model of the shape).

Screenshot of Employment Eligibility Verification

Many payroll providers like Gusto present the I-9 type in an digital new rent packet that’s emailed to the worker. Paper I-9 types are an alternative choice and will be downloaded from USCIS and handed or mailed to the worker for completion.

What an I-9 Kind Verification Doc Is

To simplify I-9 verification, USCIS supplies a list of acceptable verification documents straight on Web page 3 of the I-9 type. Most new hires who’re US residents present both a driver’s license and Social Safety card or a US passport as their I-9 type verification doc.

A US passport acts as each id verification and US workforce eligibility, so it serves each functions in a single doc. When a brand new rent presents a legitimate (not expired) US passport as their I-9 documentation, that’s all you want. No different documentation is required.

Workers who wouldn’t have a legitimate US passport should present two types of work authorization: one from the column on the left (under) and one from the column on the correct. A driver’s license and Social Safety card are the commonest. Moreover, a government-issued doc, college, army, or tribal ID will typically suffice together with a start certificates or Social Safety card.

Non-US residents may have to supply an employment authorization or resident ID card as they aren’t more likely to have a legitimate Social Safety card or a US start certificates.

Screenshot of Lists of Acceptable Documents

(Supply: USCIS)

I-9 Kind Authorized Necessities

US employers are required to have every new rent full an I-9 type. The finished type, verified and signed, ought to be saved on file for as much as three years for any worker presently employed and as much as one yr for terminated staff. Chances are you’ll want to indicate these paperwork to immigration officers or different authorities staff who could verify to verify your enterprise is barely hiring documented employees eligible to work within the US.

There are 4 sorts of employees who could legally work within the US with correct I-9 documentation:

  • US residents: Contains each native-born and naturalized residents
  • Lawful everlasting residents: Immigrants who stay within the US full time
  • People with work authorization: Overseas employees with work permits
  • Non-citizen nationals: People working within the US whereas remaining a citizen of one other nation

Taking the time to study what an I-9 type is and the way to full it appropriately advantages your enterprise in a number of methods, particularly in the event you’re ever audited or raided by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Nonetheless, not finishing it appropriately can wreak havoc on your enterprise.

I-9 violation penalties can vary from $234 to just about $5,000. This consists of doc errors on the decrease finish, equivalent to failing to finish an I-9 for a brand new rent, to willful errors on the higher finish, equivalent to knowingly hiring unlawful employees or falsifying data. Fines will be utilized to every I-9 type, they usually improve with every offense. For instance, if the identical mistake is made on 75 worker types, the fines can add up.

If you happen to comply with the USCIS directions and full I-9 types for all new hires, you’re more likely to be in good condition. Nonetheless, there are widespread errors that anybody who processes I-9 types ought to keep away from:

  • Permitting staff to offer you a photocopy as a substitute of an unique doc
  • Not filling out the I-9 type fully— leaving blanks in required fields
  • Lacking the documentation deadline of filling out the I-9 type inside three days of rent
  • Failing to confirm documentation your self and simply “taking an worker’s phrase for it”
  • Failing to maintain copies of the signed I-9 type in an on-site workplace location
  • Failing to retailer the paperwork in a safe place to guard confidential worker knowledge

I-9 Eligibility Doc Verification

The employer is accountable for bodily verifying the documents supplied by staff. Nonetheless, the federal government doesn’t require you to be a forensic professional. As an alternative, it expects you’ll use widespread sense and due diligence once you evaluate paperwork. For instance, if a doc seems to be photocopied or modified, ask to see the unique doc as a substitute.

Employers also can use a authorities software known as E-Verify to confirm work eligibility on-line and cut back their danger of hiring an ineligible employee. E-Confirm is required in some states, in addition to required for any enterprise doing federal contract work. In some places, the usage of E-Confirm could also be a situation of acquiring a enterprise license. If you wish to stop undocumented employees from making use of for jobs in your enterprise, think about using an E-Confirm emblem that alerts job seekers that you simply’re utilizing the E-Confirm system.

Employers are temporarily exempt from the bodily inspection of I-9 documentation for any worker working remotely as a consequence of COVID-19-related precautions. As soon as these staff return to work within the workplace, a bodily examination of their I-9 paperwork is required. This momentary coverage is presently prolonged till Aug. 31, 2021.

Methods to Establish & Report Fraud in Paperwork Used for I-9 Verification

Chances are you’ll come throughout falsified identification. The USCIS supplies full directions on how to examine documents. If you happen to really feel that fraud or a rip-off is going down relating to immigration documentation, you’ll be able to report that on the USCIS website. Nonetheless, immigrants have rights, and a kind of rights is to not be discriminated towards. If you happen to’re involved about discrimination, confer with the Justice Division’s webpage on immigrant and employee rights.

Some examples of attainable fraud:

  • Worker presents a doc that isn’t on the listing of acceptable paperwork.
  • Worker presents a doc with a distinct identify.
  • Worker presents a doc with completely different spelling within the identify.
  • Worker presents a doc that seems to be tampered with.

Once I-9 Types Are Not Wanted

Whereas all statutory staff (staff whose names and data you ship to the state as a part of state new rent reporting) have to display workforce eligibility, you don’t want to request or full I-9 paperwork for contract employees, momentary workers employed by way of an company, home employees who work intermittently, or distant staff—typically outsourced by way of a digital assistant firm—who stay and work outdoors the US.

Freelance staff and contract employees are paid by undertaking or project and don’t require that you simply full an I-9 type. As an alternative, you collect knowledge after they full a W-9 tax withholding type. This feature comes with massive dangers in the event you misclassify what ought to be thought-about an worker as a contract employee as a substitute. For data, take a look at our piece on W2 vs 1099 workers.

Some employers construct their enterprise (no less than to start with) with workers supplied by a temp company. As an alternative of paying a wage and wage, they as a substitute lease employees from a staffing company that hires and pays the employee. The staffing company (not you) manages new rent paperwork and I-9 verification. You as a substitute pay an bill to the staffing firm—usually a markup of 25% or extra.

Home employees, equivalent to home cleaners, childcare employees, or garden upkeep employees, that work intermittently (not on an everyday schedule) will not be required to supply I-9 documentation. Moreover, in the event you make use of home employees by way of an company (i.e., maid service firm), you don’t want to finish and confirm I-9 documentation.

Virtual assistant (VA) companies rent employees, typically abroad, to supply task-based work. Because the employer of file, the VA firm manages all worker compliance. You merely join the type of work you want—from workplace administration to IT programming—and pay a price based mostly on hours, duties, or a month-to-month bundle worth.

Backside Line

All companies, small and huge, are required to gather acceptable documentation and fill out I-9 paperwork. When you study the method, it ought to come as second nature to you with every new rent. The I-9 type, if accomplished appropriately and inside the required timeframe, can prevent cash by avoiding fines. Take the time to familiarize your self with what the I-9 type is all about and the necessities earlier than your subsequent rent. Then, think about auditing your present I-9 information to make sure present types had been completed appropriately.



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