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Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

You should review Forms I-9 immediately after completion to avoid these common mistakes.

 In Section 1, common mistakes made by employees include:

  • Employee does not enter name, other names used (e.g., maiden name), address or date of birth
  • Employee does not enter “A” number/USCIS number after selecting “A Lawful Permanent Resident.”
  • Employee does not enter “A” number/USCIS number or Form I-94 Admissionnumber after selecting “An alien authorized to work until.”
  • Employee does not sign or date the attestation.
  • Employee does not complete Section 1 on the first day of employment (i.e., “date of hire,” meaning the commencement of employment for wages or other remuneration).  
  • Employee does not check one of the boxes indicating that he or she is a citizen or national of the United States, a lawful permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work until a specified date—or checks multiple boxes attesting to more than one of the above.
  • The preparer and/or translator for the employee does not enter his or her name, address or signature in the preparer and/or translator certification box (if applicable).
  • The preparer and/or translator for the employee does not enter the date in the preparer and/or translator certification box (if applicable).

In Section 2, common mistakes made by employers include:

  • Employer does not enter acceptable List A document or acceptable List B and List C documents on the form.
  • Employer does not enter the document title, issuing authority, number(s) or expiration date for the documentation presented.
  • Employer does not enter its business title, name or address.
  • Employer does not enter the date employment began (i.e., date of hire).
  • Employer does not sign, date and print name in the Certification.
  • Employer does not complete Section 2 by the third business day after the date the employee began employment, or, if the employee is hired for three business days or less, at the time the employee started employment.

In Section 3, common mistakes made by employers include:

  • Employer does not enter the document title, number or expiration date for the acceptable documentation presented.
  • Employer does not enter the date of rehire, if applicable.
  • Employer does not enter the employee’s new name, if applicable.
  • Employer does not sign or date the Certification.
  • Employer does not complete Section 3 until after the employee’s work authorization has expired.

General Tips for Completing Forms I-9

When completing Form I-9, you should ensure that:

  • The information on the form is clear and can be read.
  • The date entered in Section 2 as the date the employee began employment matches the date in payroll records.
  • Highlighting marks, hole punches and staples do not interfere with an authorized official’s ability to read the information on the form.
  • Copies of the documentation retained with Form I-9 are legible, if copies of documentation are made.
  • Abbreviations used are widely understood. Unless an abbreviation is widely known, do not use it.
  • All applicable sections of the form are completed.
  • The current version of the Form I-9 is used.
  • The English version of the form is completed, unless the form is being completed in Puerto Rico. The Spanish version is approved for use only in Puerto Rico.
  • You treat employees in a non-discriminatory manner.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/21/2014