10.0 Photocopying and Retaining Form I-9

Employers must retain a Form I-9 for each person hired. This requirement applies from the date of hire, even if the employment ends shortly after hired, the hired employee never completes work for pay, or never finishes the Form I-9. Once the individual’s employment has terminated, the employer must determine how long after termination the Form I-9 must be retained, either three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment is terminated, whichever is later. Form I-9 can be retained on paper, microform or electronically.

To store Form I-9 electronically, you may use any electronic recordkeeping, attestation, or retention system that complies with DHS standards, including most commercially available off-the-shelf computer programs and commercial automated data processing systems. However, the system must not be subject to any agreement that would restrict access to and use of it by an agency of the United States. See Section 10.3, Electronic Retention of Form I-9 for additional requirements.

Note: Insufficient or incomplete documentation is a violation of section 274A (a)(1)(B) of the INA (8 CFR Part 274a .2(f)(2)).


  1. Enter date employee began work for pay:   ________

                              Add three years to Line 1            A. ________

     2. Termination date: ________

                              Add one year to Line 2                B. ________

              Which date is later: A or B?

              Enter the later date here.                            C. ________ Store Form I-9 until this date.

Figure 11: Form I-9 Retention Calculator


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