3.0 Completing Section 1 of Form I-9

Have the employee complete Section 1 at the time of hire (by the first day the employee starts work for pay) by entering the correct information, and signing and dating the form. If the employee enters the information by hand, ensure the employee prints clearly.

A preparer and/or translator may help the employee complete Section 1. You are responsible for reviewing the information and ensuring employees (and their preparer/translators, if applicable) fully and properly completed Section 1.

M-274 Infographic titled Completing Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation.  Infographic shows completed Section 1 as well as numbers that correlate to the instructions that follow.
Figure 1: Completing Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation
Employees must enter their full legal name and other last names that they have used in the past or present (such as a maiden name) if any.
  • Employees with two last names (family names) must include both in the Last Name field. If your employee’s name includes a hyphen or apostrophe, include it. Examples of correctly entered last names include De La Cruz, O’Neill, Garcia Lopez, and Smith-Johnson.
  • Employees with only one name should enter it in the Last Name field and enter “Unknown” in the First Name field. Employees cannot enter “Unknown” in both the Last Name and the First Name fields.
  • Employees with two first names (given names) should include both in the First Name field. If your employee’s name includes a hyphen or apostrophe, include it. Examples of correctly entered first names include Mary Jo, John-Paul, Tae Young, and D’Shaun.
  • Employees must enter their middle initial in the Middle Initial field. Enter “N/A” if the employee does not have a middle initial.
  • Employees must enter their maiden name or any other legal last name they may have used in the Other Last Names Used field. Enter “N/A” if the employee has not used other last names.
Employees should enter their home address, apartment number, city or town, state and ZIP code. Employees who have no apartment number should enter “N/A” in that field. Employees who do not have a street address should enter a description of the location of their residence, such as “Two miles south of I-81, near the water tower.”
Employees should enter their date of birth as a two-digit month, two-digit day, and four-digit year (mm/dd/yyyy) in this field. For example, Jan. 8, 1980, should be entered as 01/08/1980.

Employees may voluntarily provide their Social Security number, or leave this field blank. However, if you are enrolled in E-Verify, your employees must provide their Social Security number.

Employees who have not yet received their Social Security number and who can satisfy Form I-9 requirements may work while awaiting their Social Security number. Have them enter their Social Security number in Section 1 as soon as they receive it.

You cannot ask employees to provide a specific document with their Social Security number on it. To do so may constitute unlawful discrimination. For more information on E-Verify, see Section 1.2, E-Verify: The Web-Based Verification Companion to Form I-9. For more information on unlawful discrimination, see Section 10.0, Unlawful Discrimination and Penalties for Prohibited Practices.

Employees are not required to provide an email address or telephone number in Section 1. If they provide an email address, ensure it is in the name@site.domain format. If they do not wish to enter an e-mail address or telephone number, they should enter “N/A” in these fields.

Employees must read the warning about penalties under federal law and attest to their citizenship or immigration status by checking one of the following boxes on the form:
  1. A citizen of the United States.
  2. A noncitizen national of the United States: An individual born in American Samoa, certain former citizens of the former Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and certain children of noncitizen nationals born abroad.
  3. A lawful permanent resident: This specific immigration status describes an individual who is not a U.S. citizen and who resides in the United States under legally recognized and lawfully recorded permanent residence as an immigrant. This term includes conditional residents. Asylees and refugees should not select this status, but should instead select “An alien authorized to work.” Employees who select this box should enter their seven- to nine-digit Alien Registration Number (A-Number) or USCIS Number in the space provided. The USCIS Number is the same as the A-Number without the “A” prefix.
  4. An alien authorized to work: An individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States, or a lawful permanent resident, but is authorized to work in the United States. For example, asylees, refugees, and certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or Palau should select this status.

Employees must sign and date the form, entering the date in Section 1 as a two-digit month, two-digit day, and four-digit year (mm/dd/yyyy).

If the employee used a preparer and/or translator to complete the form, the preparer and/or translator must certify that such person helped the employee by completing the Preparer and/or Translator Certification block. If the employee did not use a preparer and/or translator, have the employee check the box marked “I did not use a preparer or translator.” If the employee used one or multiple preparers or translators and is completing the paper Form I-9, print the Form I-9 Supplement (PDF), Section 1, Preparer and/or Translator Certification. If the employee used one or multiple preparers and/or translators and is completing Form I-9 using a computer, check the second box marked “A preparer(s) and/or translator(s) assisted the employee in completing Section 1” and select the number of preparers or translators the employee used in the drop down box next to “How Many?” 

You must ensure that all parts of Form I-9 are properly completed; otherwise, you may be subject to penalties under federal law. The employee must complete Section 1 no later than the employee’s first day of employment. You may not ask an individual who has not accepted a job offer to complete Section 1. Before completing Section 2, you should review Section 1 to ensure the employee completed it properly. Review any possible errors with the employee. Have the employee correct any confirmed errors, add the employee’s initials, and the date the employee made the correction.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/27/2020