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Form I-9 Legislation

Form I-9 Federal Statutes and Regulations

Form I-9 requirements come out of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). IRCA prohibits employers from hiring and employing workers for employment in the United States knowing that these workers are not authorized with respect to such employment. Employers also are prohibited from continuing to employ an individual knowing that he or she is unauthorized for employment. This law also prohibits employers from hiring someone, including U.S. citizens, for employment in the United States without verifying his or her identity and employment authorization on Form I-9. 

The main statutes concerning the Form I-9 process are:

Federal Statutes


Federal Statutes

Nov. 6, 1986

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA)

Pub. L. 99-603, 100 Stat. 359

Prohibits employers from knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens and hiring individuals without completing the employment eligibility verification process. This Act led to creation of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. All employers must use Form I-9 for all employees hired on or after Nov. 6, 1986, who are working in the United States. This Act also established prohibitions against national origin and citizenship or immigration status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing and recruitment or referral for a fee.

Nov. 29, 1990

Immigration Act of 1990

Pub. L. 101-649, Sec. 535(a)

This Act established the INA’s document abuse prohibition, which prohibits discriminatory documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process.

Sept. 30, 1996

Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA)

Pub. L. 104-208, Div C, 110 Stat. 3009

Removes documents from the statutory list of documents acceptable for Form I-9 and requires that any additional documents added to List A documents must contain security features. This led to an interim rule published in the Federal Register in 1997 (64 Fed. Reg. 6187) removing several documents from List A and expanding the receipt rule.

Created pilot program for employment eligibility confirmation.  E-Verify is based on one of these pilot programs (the Basic Pilot).


Various federal government agencies that are part of the Executive Branch issue regulations that interpret and/or implement laws enacted by Congress. These regulations contain requirements and procedures that the public must follow and can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations.

The following regulations govern Form I-9 requirements, employer sanctions, the employment authorization of aliens and unfair immigration-related employment practices:

Title 8: Aliens and Nationality

Section Content: Part 270 - Penalties for Document Fraud 

§ 270.1 Definitions

§ 270.2 Enforcement Procedures

§ 270.3 Penalties

Section Content: Part 274a – Control of Employment of Aliens

Subpart A - Employer Requirements

§ 274a.1   Definitions.

§ 274a.2   Verification of identity and employment authorization.

§ 274a.3   Continuing employment of unauthorized aliens.

§ 274a.4   Good faith defense.

§ 274a.5   Use of labor through contract.

§ 274a.6   State employment agencies.

§ 274a.7   Pre-enactment provisions for employees hired prior to November 7, 1986 or in the CNMI prior to the transition program effective date.

§ 274a.8   Prohibition of indemnity bonds.

§ 274a.9   Enforcement procedures.

§ 274a.10   Penalties.

§ 274a.11   [Reserved]

Subpart B – Employment Authorization

§ 274a.12   Classes of aliens authorized to accept employment.

§ 274a.13   Application for employment authorization.

§ 274a.14   Termination of employment authorization.

Title 28: Judicial Administration

Part 44 - Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices

Part 68 – Allegations of Unlawful Employment Of Aliens, Unfair Immigration-Related Employment Practices, and Document Fraud


Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/19/2013