Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, employees from the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) at the Department of Justice, and employees from the Department of Labor may inspect an employer’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Employers will generally receive a written Notice of Inspection at least 3 days before the inspection. These officials can inform the owner, designee, senior management official or registered agent of the business entity of an inspection in person or by certified U.S. mail, return receipt requested. Officials may also use subpoenas and warrants to obtain the forms without providing 3 days’ notice.

Officials generally choose where they will conduct a Form I-9 inspection. For example, officials may ask that an employer bring Form I-9 to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office. Sometimes, employers may arrange for an inspection at the location where the forms are stored.

Recruiters and referrers for a fee who have designated employers to complete Form I-9 may present photocopies or printed electronic images of those forms to inspecting officials.

When officials arrive to inspect an employer’s Form I-9, the employer must:

  • Retrieve and reproduce electronically stored Form I-9 and any other documents the officer requests;
  • Provide the officer with the necessary hardware and software to inspect electronic documents; and
  • Provide the officer with any existing electronic summary of the information recorded on the employer’s Form I-9.

Employers who refuse or delay an inspection may be in violation of the law.

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