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12.3 List C Documents That Establish Employment Authorization

The illustrations do not reflect the actual size of the documents.

U.S. Social Security Card

The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues U.S. Social Security cards (although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued older versions). SSA issues unrestricted Social Security cards to U.S. citizens and individuals lawfully admitted to the United States on a permanent basis. This card shows a name and Social Security number and allows the individual to work without restriction for any employer. You cannot accept metal or plastic reproductions.

Acceptable U.S. Social Security card
Picture of a Sample Social Security Card

Unacceptable Social Security Cards

You cannot accept a restricted Social Security card for Form I-9. If your employee presents a restricted Social Security card, ask the employee to provide a different document from List C or a document from List A. SSA issues restricted Social Security cards to individuals lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis. This card shows a name and Social Security number and is stamped with one of the following restrictions:

  • “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION” (See example below)
  • “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION”
  • “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT”

Certifications of Birth Issued by the U.S. Department of State

These documents may vary in color and paper used. All will include a raised seal of the office that issued the document, and may contain a watermark and raised printing.

F-545, Certification of Birth Abroad, issued by the U.S. Department of State
Image of Certificate of Birth Abroad FS 545
DS-1350, Certification of Report of Birth, issued by the U.S. Department of State
Image of a form DS-1350 Birth Abroad Certificate
FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, issued by the U.S. Department of State
Image of a Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad

Birth Certificate

You may only accept an original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States that bears an official seal. Versions will vary by state and year of birth.

You may only accept a Puerto Rico birth certificate issued on or after July 1, 2010.

Birth Certificate
Image of a sample United States birth certificate

Form I-197, U.S. Citizen Identification Card

The former Immigration and Naturalization Service issued Form I-197 to naturalized U.S. citizens. This card does not contain an expiration date and is valid indefinitely.

Form I-197, U.S. Citizen Identification Card
Sample of Form I-197, U.S. Citizen ID Card

Form I-179, Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States

INS issued Forms I-179 to U.S. citizens who are residents of the United States. This card does not contain an expiration date, and is valid indefinitely.

Form I-179, Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States
Image of a Form I-179, Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States