6.2 Native Americans

A Native American tribal document establishes both identity and employment authorization on Form I-9 under Lists B and C. To be acceptable for Form I-9 purposes, a tribe recognized by the U.S. federal government must issue the Native American tribal document. LPRs, aliens authorized to work, and noncitizen nationals may have a Native American tribal document. Because federal recognition of tribes can change over time, you should 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 List B or C:

  • A tribal membership document issued by a Canadian First Nation, such as a Canadian Indian tribe, rather than a U.S. Native American tribe, including one that grants membership and issues tribal membership documents to Canadian nationals; and
  • 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 have these documents might possibly qualify for employment authorization under INA section 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.

Native Americans Born in Canada

Native Americans born in Canada with at least 50% American Indian blood cannot be denied admission to the United States and are authorized to live and work here. When completing Form I-9, these individuals may present a combination of a List B and C document or Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, if they chose to obtain one. You must accept these documents as long as they appear to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them.

Note for E-Verify Employers: According to section 403 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, the E-Verify authorizing statute, 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.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/09/2021