12.0 Acceptable Documents for Verifying Employment Authorization and Identity

This section provides many samples of documents from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents that an employee might present to establish their employment authorization and identity. However, this section does not provide all of the variations of a particular document, and new versions of a document may become available after we publish this handbook. We do not expect you to be a document expert, but we do expect you to accept documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them.    

An employee must present a document or combination of documents from List A (which shows both identity and employment authorization) or one document from List B (which shows identity) and one document from List C (which shows employment authorization) or an acceptable receipt of those documents within three business days of the date work for pay begins. The employee that presents a receipt must present the actual document when the receipt validity period ends, or when they receive the document, whichever comes first. Do not require an employee who presents a List A document to present List B and List C documents. Do not require an employee who presents List B and List C documents to present a List A document.

You cannot accept a receipt showing the employee has applied for an initial grant of employment authorization. You also cannot accept receipts if employment is for less than three business days. For a list of acceptable receipts for Form I-9, see Table 1 in Section 4.3, Acceptable Receipts. For examples of acceptable employment authorization documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security (List C #7), please visit uscis.gov/i-9-central.

Some employees (including lawful permanent residents, asylees, and refugees) may present documents with an expiration date. You may need to reverify the employee’s authorization to work when certain List A or List C documents expire. See Section 5.0, Completing Section 3, for more information on reverification. USCIS includes expiration dates on some documents issued to individuals with permanent employment authorization. If your employee’s document contains a future expiration date:

  • It does not preclude continuous employment authorization;
  • It does not mean USCIS will not grant them subsequent employment authorization; and
  • Do not consider the expiration date when determining whether an individual is qualified for a particular position. If you do, you may violate employment discrimination laws.

For more information on unlawful discrimination, see Section 10.0, Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties for Prohibited Practices.

LIST A: Documents That Establish Both Identity and Employment Authorization

All documents must be unexpired.

  1. U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
  2. Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (this is commonly called a Green Card.)
  3. Foreign passport that contains a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV)
  4. Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that contains a photograph. However, in certain circumstances, an EAD past its “Card Expires” date qualifies as an unexpired EAD. See Section 4.4, Automatic Extensions of Employment Authorization Documents in Certain Circumstances, for more information.
  5. For nonimmigrant aliens authorized to work for a specific employer incident to status, which means they are authorized to be employed based on their nonimmigrant status, a foreign passport with Form I-94 bearing the same name as the passport and an endorsement of their nonimmigrant status, as long as the period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations identified on the form
  6. Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI

LIST B: Documents That Establish Identity

All documents must be unexpired.

  1. Driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  2. ID card issued by federal, state, or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address (This selection does not include the driver’s license or ID card issued by a state or outlying possession of the United States  in Item 1 of this list.)
  3. School ID card with a photograph
  4. Voter’s registration card
  5. U.S. military card or draft record
  6. Military dependent’s ID card
  7. U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
  8. Native American tribal document
  9. Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority

For persons under age 18 who are unable to present a document listed above:

  1. School record or report card
  2. Clinic, doctor, or hospital record
  3. Day care or nursery school record

LIST C: Documents That Establish Employment Authorization

  1. All documents must be unexpired. A Social Security Account Number card, unless the card includes one of the following restrictions:
    • NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT
    • VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION
    • VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION
  2. Certification of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Forms DS-1350, FS-545, FS-240)
  3. Original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority or outlying territory of the United States bearing an official seal
  4. Native American tribal document
  5. Form I-197, U.S. Citizen Identification Card
  6. Form I-179, Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States
  7. Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security. For examples, please visit uscis.gov/i-9-central. (This does not include Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, from List A.)

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