7.2 Native Americans

A Native American tribal document establishes both identity and employment authorization on Form I-9. If an employee presents a Native American tribal document, you do not need any other documents from the employee to complete Section 2. To be acceptable for Form I-9 purposes, a Native American tribal document must be issued by a tribe recognized by the U.S. federal government. Members of federally recognized tribes who are LPRs, aliens authorized to work, and noncitizen nationals may have a Native American tribal document issued by such tribes. Because federal recognition of tribes can change over time, you may check the Bureau of Indian Affairs website at bia.gov to determine if the tribe is federally recognized.

The following documents are not considered Native American tribal documents for Form I-9 purposes and cannot be used for either List B or List C:

  • A tribal membership document issued by a Canadian First Nation such as a Canadian Indian tribe, rather than a U.S. Indian tribe, including a U.S. Indian tribe that grants membership and issues tribal membership documents to Canadian nationals
  • A Certificate of Indian Status (commonly referred to as an “INAC card”) issued by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (formerly known as Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, or “INAC”)

While individuals who possess such documents might possibly qualify for employment authorization under INA § 289 (and, if applicable, 8 CFR § 289.2), their tribal membership cards issued by a Canadian First Nation, or INAC cards issued by the Government of Canada, cannot, by themselves, establish work authorization.

Note for E-Verify Employers: Section 403 of the E-Verify authorizing statute requires that all List B documents must contain a photograph. This includes Native American tribal documents presented as a List B document. If the employee’s Native American tribal document does not contain a photograph, you should request the employee provide a List B document with a photograph. The Native American tribal document is acceptable as the employee’s List C document. Your employee may also choose to provide a List A document in place of a List B and List C document.


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