Form I-9 is also known as Employment Eligibility Verification which is used to confirm the work eligibility of a person in the U.S.
According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act enactment, every employer must fill out Form I-9 for every new employee to confirm their identity as well as their employment eligibility.
Employees should also hand out any supporting or necessary documents to their employers as proof of employment eligibility.
The United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) created Form I-9 to enhance national security.
Who Must Complete the Form I-9?
Employers must ensure their newly hired employees complete Form I-9 before starting work. Then the employer will verify the employee’s identification and work eligibility and register the form within the first three days of work.
If employees are unable to provide the necessary documents to complete the Form I-9 within three days, they cannot work and won’t be paid.
Employers should ensure that employees with incomplete Form I-9 submit it by the end of the third day. Otherwise, the employment contract will end if Form I-9 is not completely filed within seven business days after the hire.
Moreover, an employee must submit a new Form I-9 if they are recruited again after three years of filling out the previous form. The form also gives the option for a translator or legal preparer to fill it out on behalf of an employee if they are not capable of reading or writing in English.
Who is Exempted from the I-9 Form?
Some people and professions are exempted from submitting the I-9 Form, such as the following:
People hired on or before 6 November, 1986, or before 28 November, 2009 for employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. They also should have stable employment opportunities at all times.
Someone working as a temporary housekeeper at a private residence.
Someone who works for a company that does contract services, such as a Temp company.
Someone who does not work on United States soil.
What Documents are Required as Proof for Form I-9?
The Department of Homeland Security has three general lists of documents that prove an employee’s identity and work eligibility. They are List A, List B, and List C.
1. List A
List A consists of documents needed for identification and employment. Some kinds of List A documents include the following:
Valid Temporary Resident Card or Form I-688
Valid U.S. Passport
Certificate of Naturalization or Forms N-550 or N-570
The U.S. Citizenship Certificate or Forms N-560 or N-561
However, if an employee does not have any of the above documents, they must submit the documents from either List B or C.
2. List B
In List B, all the documents are for verifying a person’s identification. Such documents include:
Voter Registration Card
Federal, State, or Local government issued ID card
School or Student ID card with a picture
The U.S. Military Card or Draft Card
3. List C
Documents in List C include the following:
The U.S. Citizen ID Card or Form I-197
Certified or Original Birth Certificate copy
The Department of State issued Birth Abroad Certification or Forms FS–545 or DS-1350
The Social Security Administration issued U.S. Social Security Card
What Proof of Documents do Foreign Citizens Need?
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, international students or visitors need to submit extra documents, such as I-20, valid foreign passport, DS-2019, etc., to get verification for work eligibility in the United States.
When Do Employees Need to Resubmit Form I-9?
Employees only need to resubmit or refill their Form I-9 when the work authorization expires. This has to be done as early as possible to be able to keep working.
Moreover, employees can revise their form’s Section-3 only if their legal name changes or they are recruited again within three years.
What Is the Expiry Date of Form I-9?
Form I-9 has no official expiry date. But according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an employer must retain their employees’ Form I-9 for at least three years of hire or one year after the dismissal of the employee.
How Can an Employee Get the Form I-9?
Usually, an employer is responsible for providing Form I-9 to their newly hired employee during the hiring process. The document is a requirement for continued employment.
However, if an employee has not received the form, they can contact their company’s HR department to acquire a copy of Form I-9. One can also download the form online and submit it to their employers.
What is the Penalty for Not Submitting Form I-9 and Providing Misleading Information?
If an employee does not submit their I-9 Form to their employer within the given period of three days, their job will be terminated.
On the other hand, employers can also receive a penalty or fine of $230 to $2,292 for not submitting Form I-9. If employers do it knowingly, they can be fined anywhere between $573 to $20,130 per offense.
Moreover, if an employee or employer provides any misleading or false information in Form I-9, in that case, they could be charged with civil fines, criminal penalties, termination from federal contracts, or court orders.
Can Form I-9 be Stored Electronically?
Employers can E-Verify or store their employees’ Form I-9 electronically. It helps make the forms easily accessible to U.S. government officials.
Employers who have signed up for E-Verify can use its web-based platform to verify new workers' identity and job eligibility. The service electronically matches all the employees’ information provided on the form with the SSA and DHS available information online.
Moreover, within three working days following the day the government officials first requested the forms, employers must ensure that these forms are electronically accessible to government authorities for review.