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Examining Documents

You must examine the documentation your employee presents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. You are not required to be document expert. You must accept documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them. However, if your new employee provides a document that does not reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to them, you must reject that document and ask for other documents that satisfy the requirements of Form I-9.

If your employeeYou shouldTips
Provides  documentation that reasonably appears to be genuine, relates to the employee, and is on the List of Acceptable DocumentsAccept the documentation.HELP
Provides a document that does not reasonably appear to be genuine or relate to the employee or is not on the List of Acceptable DocumentsReject the document and ask for other document(s) that satisfy Form I-9 requirements.The standard is reasonableness. You are not expected to be a document expert.
Writes more than one last name in Section 1, but presents a document from the List of Acceptable Documents that has only one of those last namesAsk your employee the reason for the difference in the names. If the document reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual, you may accept the document.Attach a memo to the Form I-9 explaining the discrepancy.
Presents a document from the List of Acceptable Documents in which his or her name is spelled slightly differently than the name he or she wrote in Section 1Ask your employee the reason for the difference in spelling. If it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual, you may accept the document.Ask your employee to use his or her full legal name in Section 1. Ask him or her to do one of the following: Correct Form I-9 and initial the change; provide a different document with the correct spelling; provide you a corrected document.
Provides a document in which the name the employee wrote in Section 1 is completely or substantially different from the name on the documentAsk the employee the reason for the name change

If your employee maintains that the name in Section 1 is his or her legal name and you are satisfied that the document reasonably appears to relate to the employee, you may accept the document.

Attach a memo to the Form I-9 explaining the discrepancy.

If the employee voluntarily provides proof of a name change, you should keep a copy of it with the memo.

Provides a document that does not reasonably appear to be genuine and/or to relate to the individual or if he or she cannot present other documents to satisfy the requirements of Form I-9You may terminate employment.HELP

Note:  This chart only applies to newly hired employees.

Employers who partner with the IMAGE Program receive training and education from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on proper hiring procedures, fraudulent document detection and anti-discrimination laws.  Employers may also visit the Office of Special Counsel website for more information on anti-discrimination laws and employment verification.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/28/2014