4.0 Completing Section 2: Employer Review and Verification
Within three business days of the date employment begins, you or your authorized representative must complete Section 2 by examining original, acceptable, and unexpired documentation, or an acceptable receipt, the employee presents (see Table 1: Special Form I-9 Situations) to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the person presenting it. For example, if an employee begins employment on Monday, you must review the employee’s documentation and complete Section 2 on or before Thursday of that week. However, if you hire someone for less than three business days, you must complete Section 2 no later than the first day of employment.
In general, you or your authorized representative must review the employee’s documentation in their physical presence. However, if you participate in E-Verify, you may also be eligible to remotely examine the employee’s documents under the alternative procedure authorized by the secretary of homeland security. To see if you are eligible and for further guidance, please see Section 4.5, Remote Document Examination (Optional Alternative Procedure to Physical Document Examination), as well as I-9 Central and E-Verify.gov.
You must allow the employee to choose which documentation they will present from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents and must accept documentation that reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the person presenting it. You cannot specify which documentation an employee will present from the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents. When physically examining documents, copies, except for certified copies of birth certificates, are not acceptable. See Section 4.5, Remote Document Examination (Optional Alternative Procedure to Physical Document Examination) requirements.
You may terminate an employee who fails to present acceptable documentation (or an acceptable receipt for a document) within three business days after the date employment begins. If you fail to properly complete Form I-9, you risk violating section 274A of the INA and may be subject to civil money penalties.
Employees may choose to present either: 1) one document selected from List A or 2.) a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.
- List A documentation shows both identity and employment authorization. Some documentation must be presented together to be considered acceptable List A documentation. If an employee presents acceptable List A documentation, do not ask them to present List B or List C documentation.
- Under certain circumstances, USCIS may automatically extend an employee’s employment authorization and/or employment authorization document beyond the expiration date on the document. An automatically extended document is considered unexpired for Form I-9. See Section 5.0, Automatic Extensions of Employment Authorization and/or Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) in Certain Circumstances.
List B documentation shows identity only and List C documentation shows employment authorization only. If an employee presents acceptable List B and List C documentation, do not ask them to present List A documentation.
- If you participate in E-Verify, and the employee presents a combination of List B and List C documentation, then the List B document must contain a photograph. For more information, visit e-verify.gov.
Table 1 Special Form I-9 Situations
Additional M-274 Guidance
Employee presents a Social Security Card containing one of the following restrictions:
Because the restricted Social Security Card is not an acceptable List C document, ask the employee to provide a different document from List C or List A.
Employee is a minor (individuals under age 18) and is unable to present an identity document from List B.
Minor’s parent or legal guardian establishes identity for the minor by completing Section 1 on minor’s behalf and completing a Preparer and/or Translator Certification block in Supplement A.
Minor must then only present an employment authorization document from List C.
Employee who has a physical or mental impairment is placed in a job by a nonprofit organization, association, or as part of a rehabilitation program (special placement) and is unable to present an identity document for List B.
Representative of the nonprofit organization, association, or rehabilitation program; parent; or legal guardian establishes identity for this employee by completing Section 1 on the employee’s behalf and completing a Preparer and/or Translator Certification. Employee must then only present an employment authorization document from List C.
Employee has an expired EAD and/or employment authorization but qualifies for an automatic extension of employment authorization and/or Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by a Federal Register notice (FRN), a regulation, a Form I-797 or I-797C receipt notice, an individual letter/notice or a website notice.
An EAD automatically extended by FRN or notice is an unexpired List A document for Form I-9. For more information on what the employee must present along with their EAD to complete Form I-9, please see Section 5.
Employee presents an acceptable receipt in place of an unexpired List A, B, or C document.
See Table 2 to determine how long each receipt is valid and what documents the employee must show once the receipt expires.
Figure 2: Section 2: Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification
When completing Section 2, use information from the documentation the employee presented to enter the document title, issuing authority, document number, and expiration date (if any) in Section 2:
- Enter List A documents in the column on the left. If the employee presents List A documentation that consists of multiple documents, use the second and third List A areas, as well as the Additional Information area, if necessary, to enter those other documents. If you enter documents in the List A columns, you should leave the List B and C columns blank.
- Enter List B documents in the center column. If you enter a document in this column, you must also enter a document in the List C column. Leave the List A column blank.
- Enter List C documents in the column on the right. If the employee presents a List C document that consists of multiple documents, use the Additional Information area to enter those other documents. If you enter a document in this column, you must also enter a document in the List B column. Leave the List A column blank.
You may use either common abbreviations for states, document titles or issuing authorities, such as “DL” for driver’s license and “SSA” for Social Security Administration. Appendix A provides more abbreviation suggestions.
The “Additional Information” space is for Form I-9 notes, such as:
- Notations that describe extensions of employment authorization or a document’s expiration date for individuals in certain nonimmigrant categories or granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS). For more information, see Section 5.0, Automatic Extensions of Employment Authorization and/or Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) in Certain Circumstances, and Section 7, Evidence of Employment Authorization for Certain Categories.
- Information from additional documents that F-1 or J-1 nonimmigrant employees may present including the Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) number and the program end date from Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, or DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, as required.
- Replacement document information if a receipt was previously presented.
- Discrepancies that E-Verify participants must notate when participating in the IMAGE program.
- Any other optional comments or notations necessary for your business process, such as employee termination dates, form retention dates, and E-Verify case verification numbers.
Enter the first day of employment for wages or other remuneration in the space for “The employee’s first day of employment (mm/dd/yyyy).” Recruiters and referrers for a fee do not enter the employee’s first day of employment.
Staﬀing agencies may choose to use either the date an employee is assigned to the employee’s first job or the date the new employee is entered into the assignment pool as the first day of employment.
The same person who examined the employee’s documents must also complete the fields in the certification block, then sign and date Section 2, as shown in Figure 2 above. The employer or authorized representative signs and dates Section 2 in the spaces provided to attest to examining the documents the employee presented. Also enter title, last name, first name, and the employer’s business or organization name.
Enter the business’s physical street address, city or town, state, and ZIP code. If the location is not a city or town you may enter the name of the village, county, township, reservation, etc. that applies. Employers may not enter a P.O. box as their address. If your company has multiple locations, use the most appropriate address that identifies the location of the employer.