Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

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Who Needs to Complete Form I-9?

Is an I-9 required for someone who serves on a board but is not an employee of that company and receives a stipend for attending meetings? Expand

Form I-9 must be completed each time you hire any person to perform labor or services in the United States in return for wages or other remuneration. Remuneration is anything of value given in exchange for labor or services, including food and lodging. The hire date is the date the person begins employment in exchange for wages or other remuneration.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/02/2018

Are election judges and poll workers exempt from completing Forms I-9 in accordance with U.S. Department of Justice memo dated Feb 18, 1988 signed by John R. Schroeder? Expand

Yes, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to adhere to this policy. For more information, please contact ICE directly.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

My company retains unpaid individuals (student trainees, interns, volunteers, residents) that receive job training and experience but receive no form of payment from my company. Do we need to complete Forms I-9 for these individuals? Expand

In general, Forms I-9 are not required for unpaid individuals unless the individuals will receive something of value in exchange for their labor or services, also referred to as remuneration.

Remuneration can come in many forms, such as money, meals, lodging and other benefits, but does not include gifts. If your company determines that unpaid individuals will receive something of value in exchange for labor or services, your company should complete Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can I include Form I-9 in a job application packet? Expand

Yes. You can include Form I-9 in a job application packet as long as you apply this practice uniformly to all job applicants and do so for information purposes. Do not ask employees to complete Form I-9 as part of the application process. Form I-9 must be completed after your employee has been provided and accepted an offer of employment.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

If I am self-employed, do I have to fill out a Form I-9 on myself? Expand

A self-employed person does not need to complete a Form I-9 on his or her own behalf unless the person is an employee of a separate business entity, such as a corporation or partnership. If the person is an employee of a separate business entity, he or she, and any other employees, will have to complete Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

If I am a recruiter or referrer for a fee, do I have to fill out Forms I-9 on individuals that I recruit or refer? Expand

No, with three exceptions: Agricultural associations, agricultural employers, and farm labor contractors. These entities must complete Forms I-9 on all individuals who they recruit or refer for a fee. Also, all recruiters and referrers for a fee are liable for knowingly recruiting or referring for a fee individuals not authorized to work in the United States and must comply with federal anti-discrimination laws.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Do I have to complete Forms I-9 for Canadians or Mexicans who entered the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? Expand

Yes. You must complete Forms I-9 for all employees, including NAFTA entrants.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Do the owners of a company have to complete Form I-9? What if one of the company's owners refuses to complete Form I-9? Expand

Form I-9 requirements are triggered by the hire of an individual for employment in the United States. A "hire" is the actual commencement of employment of an employee for wages or other remuneration. If any of the owners are employees of the company, then each owner must complete Form I-9. Failure to comply with all Form I-9 requirements could result in civil penalties against the employer

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Am I required to complete Forms I-9 for employees who will work only one day? Expand

Yes. Unless the individual engages in casual domestic employment, you must complete Form I-9 for each employee hired to work in the United States, even if your employee works only one day.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Do I have to update or complete a new Form I-9 when distributing back pay to a previous employee who no longer works for the company? Expand

No. You should not update or complete a new Form I-9 if you are only distributing back pay to a previous employee.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Is my employee required to complete Form I-9 if he/she is attending training in the United States before starting his/her job in a foreign country? Expand

If your company is paying for training that is required for the job, Form I-9 should be completed. You must complete Form I-9 in this situation even if your employee will be attending the training in the United States only for one day.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

I am self-employed and don't need to complete the Form I-9. Do I need to be authorized to work in the United States to be self-employed? Expand

Yes. Individuals must be work-authorized to perform any employment in the United States, even if it is not employment in an employer-employee relationship requiring completion of the Form I-9. Undocumented aliens, or others lacking work authorization, are NOT authorized to be self-employed or to work as independent contractors. Any person who obtains the labor of an independent contractor, knowing that the contractor is not work authorized, is subject to civil penalties under section 274A of the INA.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Do I need to fill out Forms I-9 for independent contractors or their employees? Expand

No. For example, if you contract with a construction company to perform renovations on your building, you do not have to complete Forms I-9 for that company's employees. The construction company is responsible for completing Forms I-9 for its own employees. However, you may not use a contract, subcontract or exchange to obtain the labor or services of an employee knowing that the employee is unauthorized to work.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

If someone accepts a job with my company but will not start work for a month, can I complete Form I-9 when my employee accepts the job? Expand

Yes. The law requires that you complete Form I-9 only when the person actually begins working for pay. However, you may complete the form earlier, as long as the person has been offered and has accepted the job. You may not use the Form I-9 process to screen job applicants or to delay the actual start day of work.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Do citizens and noncitizen nationals of the United States need to complete Form I-9? Expand

Yes. While citizens and noncitizen nationals of the United States are automatically eligible for employment, they too must present the required documents and complete a Form I-9. U. S. Citizens include persons born in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Island and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. U. S. noncitizen nationals are persons who owe permanent allegiance to the United States, which include those born in American Samoa, including Swains Island.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Completing Form I-9

How far in advance can the Form I-9 be completed?Expand

Form I-9 may be completed as soon as the employer has offered the individual a job and the individual has accepted the offer. Each newly hired employee must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than his or her first day of employment.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/06/2015

In the case of a merger, how can I meet the 3 day rule and complete all new Forms I-9 for my acquired employees? Expand

If an employer chooses to treat acquired employees as new hires rather than as continuing in employment, the employer must complete new Forms I-9 for all of these employees within the regulatory timeframes applicable to Form I-9 completion for new hires. Employers may complete new Forms I-9 before the merger or acquisition takes place as long as the employer has offered the acquired employee a job and the employee has accepted the offer. Regulations do not provide for lengthier timeframes in the case of a merger or acquisition.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/03/2014

Is an H-4 with a pending I-129 to become an H-1B employment authorized? The individual was an H-1B prior to becoming an H-4 and is in an authorized period of stay. Expand

USCIS has interpreted Section 105 of AC21 to only provide for portability of H-1B status. Thus, if the nonimmigrant is not currently maintaining a valid H-1B status, or in an authorized period of stay based on a timely filed extension of H-1B status petition, the H-1B status portability rule would not apply. An individual in H-4 status is not able to port and must wait for the I-129 to be approved before he/she can begin work as an H-1B with either a new or a previous employer.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

As an employer, may I use a signature stamp to sign Section 2? Expand

No. Both the employer's and the employee's handwritten (or electronic signature, if applicable) signatures are required to complete Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

If my employee changes citizenship status after completing Form I-9, are they required to change their attestation? Expand

There is no requirement to update the individual's attestation. The employee can voluntarily update Section 1 and initial and date the changes or complete Section 1 of a new Form I-9 and attach it to the existing Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can I use a different date format on the Form I-9? If a different format has been used should I correct the Form I-9? Expand

It is recommended to use the American date format MM/DD/YYYY which is shown on the Form I-9 and the Form I-9 Instructions. Other formats are acceptable as long as it is clear what format was used. Corrections are not required to correct the date format.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Do all pages of the Form I-9 and Form I-9 Instructions need to be provided to my employee? Not all pages have action or instructions for the employee. Expand

The instructions and the Lists of Acceptable Documents page must be made available to all employees completing the form. You do not need to provide a copy of the instructions for employees to keep, but you must provide a copy that they can refer to while completing the Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is it acceptable to have both typed and handwritten information on the Form I-9?Expand

It is acceptable to have both typed and handwritten information on the Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Must Form I-9 be completed in ink or can I use pencil?Expand

Form I-9 does not need to be completed in ink and the use of pencil is not prohibited. The information written or printed on the form must be legible and the information must be readable for the entire retention period of the form. The preferred medium is black or blue ink since it is permanent, often easier to read and not as susceptible to fading.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can there be any additional writing or highlighting on Form I-9?Expand

Yes. However, you must ensure that such information is legible. Any additional writing, printing or highlighting on Form I-9 outside of the required information must not interfere with an authorized government official's ability to read the information on the form or add additional requirements to the form.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

I have heard that some state employment agencies, commonly known as state workforce agencies, can certify that people they refer are authorized to work. Is that true?Expand

Yes. A state workforce agency may choose to complete Forms I-9 and verify the employment authorization and identity of individuals it refers to employers. If you hire an individual referred to you by a state workforce agency, the agency must issue a certification to you so that you can comply with Form I-9 requirements. You should check with your state employment agency to see if it provides this service and learn more about your responsibilities.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can I contract with someone to complete Forms I-9 for my business?Expand

Yes. You can contract with another person or business to verify employees' identities and employment authorization and to complete Forms I-9 for you. However, you are still responsible for the contractor's actions and are liable for any violations of the employment eligibility verification requirements.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

I hire my employees remotely. How do I complete Form I-9?Expand

You may designate an authorized representative to fill out Forms I-9 on behalf of your company, including personnel officers, foremen, agents or notary public. The Department of Homeland Security does not require the authorized representative to have specific agreements or other documentation for Form I-9 purposes. If an authorized representative fills out Form I-9 on your behalf, you are still liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process.

When completing Form I-9, you or authorized representative must physically examine each document presented to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the employee presenting it. Reviewing or examining documents via webcam is not permissible.

If the authorized representative refuses to complete Form I-9 (including providing a signature) another authorized representative may be selected. DHS does not require the authorized representative to have specific agreements or other documentation for Form I-9 purposes. If you hire a notary public, the notary public is acting as an authorized representative of you, not as a notary. The notary public must perform the same required actions as an authorized representative. When acting as an authorized representative, the notary public should not provide a notary seal on Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

As an employer, do I have to fill out all the Forms I-9 myself?Expand

No. You may designate someone to fill out Forms I-9 for you, such as a personnel officer, foreman, agent, or anyone else acting on your behalf, such as a notary public. Please note that if someone else fills out Form I-9 on your behalf, he or she must carry out full Form I-9 responsibilities. However, you are still liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process.

For example, it is not acceptable for a notary public to view employment authorization and identity documents, but leave Section 2 for you to complete. The person who views an employee's original documentation should also complete and sign Section 2 on your behalf.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

During an audit, we discovered that an employee failed to select a citizenship or immigration status when their Form I-9 was originally completed. The employee was not a U.S. citizen at the time but has become a U.S. citizen since the original hire date. When correcting Section 1, should the employer have the employee enter their current citizenship or immigration status or the citizenship or immigration status at the time the employee was originally hired?Expand

If the employer sees an error in Section 1 of Form I-9, then the employer should ask the employee to correct the error. Employees who failed to attest to any immigration status should check the box corresponding to their current immigration status and initial and date the correction. The employer does not need to complete a new Form I-9 but may note why the attestation does not match the documentation presented; for example, the employee was a lawful permanent resident when initially hired but when the employer audited this form and the correction was made, the employee was a U.S. citizen.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

If an employee enters an Alien Number or Admission Number when completing Section 1 of Form I-9, may I ask to see a document with that number?Expand

When the employer completes Section 2, the employer may not ask to see a document with the employee’s Alien Number or Admission Number or otherwise specify which document(s) an employee may present.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Section 1 - Employee Information and Verification

What actions can an employer take if an employee who is an asylee or refugee refuses to correct their I-9 to indicate “N/A” in Section 1 after they provided documents that do not require reverification but indicated an expiration date in Section 1? Expand

Employees who select “An alien authorized to work” should enter the date their employment authorization expires. However, refugees; asylees; certain citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshal Islands, or Palau; and other aliens whose employment authorization does not have an expiration date should enter “N/A” in the “Expiration Date” field. While strongly recommended, entering “N/A” in the “Expiration Date” field is not required. If the employee refuses to enter “N/A” in that field, the employer should attach a note to the employee’s Form I-9 and explain the situation. Ensure the note is signed and dated.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/02/2018

A new hire completes the Form I-9 without a Social Security number (SSN). When the SSN is later provided to the E-Verify employer can the employer enter the SSN on the Form I-9 or leave the field blank if the employee is not available to update it? Expand

E-Verify employers must ensure that their employee's SSNs are recorded on Form I-9. If the employee did not have an SSN when he or she first completed Form I-9, then the employer should have the employee insert the number in Section 1 when the employee provides it. Only employees are permitted to correct or update the information in Section 1, but the employer is not required to be present when the employee completes or updates Section 1.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/10/2015

Can my employee leave any part of Section 1 of the Form I-9 blank? When is an employee required to use "N/A" in Section 1? Expand

Employees must complete every applicable field in Section 1 of the Form I-9 with the exception of the fields requesting the employees' telephone number, e-mail address, and Social Security number. However, an employee must enter his or her Social Security number if the employer participates in E-Verify. Follow the Form I-9 instructions when determining if a field can be blank or if N/A is required. The instructions state when an employee may use N/A or must use N/A. Required fields must be completed with either the information requested or N/A.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/28/2015

How should Form I-9, Section 1, Employee Name field be completed when an employee has two legal last names?Expand

Employees with two last names or a hyphenated last name must include both names in the last name field of the Form I-9. The Handbook for Employers (M-274) page 4 and Form I-9, page 1, section 1 provides specific instructions on completing the last name field on the Form I-9. If an employee enters two last names in Section 1, but presents a document that only displays one of those last names, the document he or she presents for Section 2 is acceptable as long as you are satisfied that the document appears genuine and relates to the employee.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/08/2015

Section 1 of the Form I-9 now contains an Other Last Names Used field. Where should my employee enter additional last names used that do not fit in this field? Expand

If employees need extra space to enter additional last names that do not fit in this field, they may use the margin next to the field, as long as it does not interfere with other information required on the form. Your employees may also enter additional legal last names on a separate sheet they have signed and dated. This separate sheet must be attached and retained with the employees’ Forms I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/05/2017

When an alien authorized to work has an I-94 with a "D/S" indicated as the expiration date do I need to write "D/S" in Section 1?Expand

"D/S" should be written in Section 1 when applicable (e.g., F-1 nonimmigrant student engaging in on-campus employment; nonimmigrant admitted under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the Federal States of Micronesia or the Republic of the Marshall Islands).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

How do you enter a Mexican or Canadian address in Section 1?Expand

The full Mexican or Canadian address should be entered in Section 1 using the boxes for Address, City or Town, State and Zip Code. If additional space is needed, the employee may write information, such as the country, on the form near the address data fields where it best fits and does not interfere with other information on the form, or in a signed and dated attachment that includes an explanation regarding why extra space was needed for the address.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

If an employee writes down an Alien Number or Admission Number when completing Section 1 of Form I-9, may I ask to see a document with that number?Expand

No. Although it is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your employees fully complete Section 1 by the time employment begins, the employee is not required to present a document to complete this section. When you complete Section 2, you may not ask to see a document with the employee's Alien Number or Admission Number or otherwise specify which document(s) an employee may present. To do so may violate the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

May a minor act as a preparer or translator for an employee completing Form I-9?Expand

A minor may act as a preparer/translator for Form I-9. USCIS recommends that employers use their discretion in determining if the minor understands the legal consequences of signing the Preparer/Translator Certification.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Can I complete Section 1 of Form I-9 for my employee?Expand

You may help an employee who needs assistance in completing Section 1 of Form I-9. However, you must also complete the Preparer and/or Translator Certification block. The employee must still sign the certification block in Section 1.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/19/2014

Can Section 1 of Form I-9 be auto-populated by an electronic system that collects information during the on-boarding process for a new hire if the employee is required to verify that the information is correct and can make corrections or add information if necessary?Expand

The regulations at 8 CFR section 274a.2(b) require that (i) a person or entity that hires or recruits or refers for a fee an individual for employment must ensure that the individual properly completes section 1, Employee Information and Verification, on Form I-9 at the time of hire and signs the attestation with a handwritten or electronic signature in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section; or if an individual is unable to complete Form I-9 or needs it translated, someone may assist him or her. The preparer or translator must read Form I-9 to the individual, assist him or her in completing Section 1, Employee Information and Verification, and have the individual sign or mark Form I-9 by a handwritten or an electronic signature in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section.

DHS regulations require that the employee completes Section 1 of Form I-9. Employers can offer employees electronic tools to facilitate the Section 1 completion process, as long as this regulatory requirement and the regulatory requirements for the electronic generation of Form I-9 continue to be met.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

When an employee has a long first name and the I-9 limits the first name to 25 characters, what are the proper steps to complete the I-9?Expand

An employee with a very long name or multiple names may wish to enter their name on Form I-9 as it appears on the documents they plan to present to show identity and employment eligibility. Sometimes multiple first names are considered both first names and middle names, in which case the employee should follow the form instructions for the best way to enter multiple names. Employers may also have the employee complete Section 1 by hand and attach it to Section 2, whether it was completed by hand or on a computer.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/26/2017

Section 2 - Employer Review and Verification

May a notary public or any authorized representative attach an attestation to Form I-9 instead of providing a signature in the signature block of Section 2?Expand

No. Section 2 is a review of the documents the employee presents and must be signed. If Section 2 is not signed by the individual who reviewed the documents, Form I-9 is not complete.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

What business name should I enter on Form I-9: the legal name or the doing business as (DBA) name?Expand

You must record the business name on Form I-9. USCIS recommends that you use the company's legal name, and if there is a DBA, write it on the form as well. You should enter the same names on all Forms I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can I fill out in advance Section 2 of Form I-9 with my business or organization name, address and position of my company representative?Expand

Yes. You may prefill the "Last Name(Family Name) and First Name (Given Name)", "Title of Employer or Authorized Representative" and "Employer's Business or Organization Name", "Employer's Business or Organization Address (Street Number and Name), "City or Town", "State" and "Zip Code" blocks of Section 2 of Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

The name my employee provided in Section 1 does not match the name on the document provided. My employee told me the name on the document is his or her legal name but my employee prefers to use the name provided in Section 1. Can I annotate the employee’s legal name in Section 2, either in the space provided for additional information or in the space provided under List B or List C for expiration date if the document provided will never expire?Expand

In Section 1 of Form I-9, employees are required to enter their current legal name and if applicable, any other legal names used. Employers must:

  • Provide Form I-9 instructions to their employees before completing Section 1, and
  • Ensure their employees properly complete this section including their full legal last name, first name, and middle initial.

If there is a discrepancy between the documents presented and the name provided in Section 1, the employer should resolve the question of whether the documents reasonably relate to the employee and ask the employee the reason for the discrepancy.

Even though the employee prefers to use a nickname rather than a legal name, the employer should have the employee correct the name fields to provide the legal name in Section 1. Only employees may correct information in Section 1. Employers should also ensure that the employee’s name in Section 2 is the same as the name from Section 1. Employers should not enter the employee’s name in the Additional Information field or the Expiration Date fields in Section 2.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/07/2017

In the signature block for the Employer or Authorized Representative found in Section 2 of Form I-9, do I need to sign my full legal name?Expand

No, you are not required to sign your full legal name in the Section 2 signature block. Your normal signature is sufficient even if it is not your full legal name. In addition, a signature does not need to be legible to be valid.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/08/2016

The Form I-9 instructions include approved abbreviations for document titles. Some of the document titles are long, so when you print the form, the title is cut off. Is this acceptable? Expand

Document titles that are too long to fit in the allotted space should be abbreviated or they will be truncated to fit the form. In these cases, it is acceptable to print the document with the abbreviated or truncated name which fits in the available space.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Can the Employers Business or Organization Name field be expanded to accommodate a full legal name that is longer than 60 characters? If not, is it acceptable to only list the first 60 characters?Expand

The new Enhanced Form I-9 increased the space for the Employer’s Business or Organization Name from 37 to 52 spaces. Businesses may abbreviate their business name so that the name fits within the space provided on Form I-9 yet still accurately identifies the business name.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Can an employer pre-populate the “employee’s first day of employment” field? Expand

No. Only the Employer’s Business or Organization Name, Employer’s Business or Organization Address (Street Number and Name), City or Town, State, and ZIP Code in Section 2 can be pre-populated.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Section 3 - Updating and Reverification (Rehires)

During the reverification process, can an employee reuse the same work authorization document they originally presented as a List A or C document, as long as it is still valid? Expand

Yes. The employee must present acceptable evidence of employment authorization (from List A or List C) to show they are still authorized to work. When the employer determines the document is unexpired, appears to be genuine, and relates to the employee, they must record the document title, document number, and expiration date, if any, in Section 3, then sign and date Section 3.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/02/2018

Can an H-1B employee present a driver's license and Form I-94 card only (no passport) for reverification?Expand

An H-1B employee who is verifying continued H-1B employment authorization may choose to present his or her Form I-94 as List C #8 document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/06/2015

Can an F-1 student engaged in OPT, STEM, or off-campus employment other than curricular practical training present Form I-94 and Form I-20 as List C document during reverification?Expand

No, Form I-94 and Form I-20 do not establish employment authorization for reverification in the case of F-1 students seeking employment under optional practical training (OPT), STEM OPT extension, or off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship. If employment authorization is granted in these cases, USCIS issues an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) as evidence of employment authorization.

The student’s expired OPT EAD, together with an endorsed Form I-20, are considered an acceptable List A documents for a student who is participating in OPT and whose F-1 status and employment authorization have been automatically extended as a result of a timely filed H-1B change of status petition (cap-gap).

An expired OPT EAD with an endorsed Form I-20 is also an acceptable List A document in the case of the F-1 OPT student with a pending STEM extension application. The student is authorized to work until USCIS makes a decision on his or her application, but not more than 180 days from the date of the initial OPT EAD expiration date.

For more guidance on reverification and F-1 STEM OPT extensions and cap-gap for students, see the Guidance for Completing Form I-9 Handbook (PDF).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2016

Are seasonal workers considered rehires when the seasonal worker has every expectation to return to the job the following season, such as from one holiday season to another? Must the employee complete a new Form I-9 each season?Expand

The regulations provide that if the individual is continuing in his or her employment, such as may be the case with seasonal employment, and has a reasonable expectation of employment at all times, his or her return to work would not be considered a new hire, so a new Form I-9 is not required. Employers should continue to maintain and store the completed Form I-9 as if there was no interruption in employment. Therefore, the employer should conduct any reverification of employment authorization as necessary.

If the employer determines that the employee was terminated and is now rehired, and the rehire occurs within three years from the date the previous Form I-9 was completed, the employer may complete a new Form I-9 or rely on the previously completed Form I-9. For additional information on continuing employment, refer to the M-274 Part Two, Completing Section 3.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

Must I reverify an employee who presented a Permanent Resident Card with a 10-year expiration date?Expand

No, you should not reverify this employee. For more information, refer to the M-274 Part 2, Reverification and Evidence of Status for Certain Categories.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

Must I reverify an employee who presented for Form I-9 a Permanent Resident Card that expires in two years and contains conditions?Expand

No, you should not reverify this employee. For more information, refer to the M-274 Part 2, Reverification and Evidence of Status for Certain Categories.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

When a foreign national employee provides a List A document that includes a foreign passport, an I-94, and I-20, should/could we re-verify using more than one document under Section 3 or just one document at a time?Expand

The employee's foreign passport establishes identity and therefore does not trigger reverification when it expires. In the case of a student, the Form I-94 and I-20 establish employment authorization. Reverification is triggered by the document with the earlier end date. Both documents should be treated as a group; reverification should not be completed each time one of the documents in the group expires. To meet the reverification requirements, the employee may present any document of his or her choice from List A or List C. If the document that the employee chooses to present consists of a combination of documents (e.g., foreign passport with Form I-94 indicating the employee's nonimmigrant classification that is work authorized incident to status for a specific employer), then all documents must be recorded in Section 3.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can I avoid reverifying an employee on Form I-9 by not hiring persons whose employment authorization has an expiration date?Expand

No. You cannot refuse to hire persons solely because their employment authorization is temporary. The existence of a future expiration date does not preclude continuous employment authorization for an employee and does not mean that subsequent employment authorization will not be granted. In addition, consideration of a future employment authorization expiration date in determining whether an individual is qualified for a particular job may be an unfair immigration-related employment practice in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

What do I do when an employee's employment authorization expires?Expand

To continue to employ an individual whose employment authorization has expired, you will need to reverify him or her in Section 3 of Form I-9. Reverification must occur no later than the date that employment authorization expires. The employee must present a document of their choice from either List A or List C that shows either an extension of his or her initial employment authorization or new employment authorization. The employee does not need to present the same document they presented for initial verification. You must review this document and, if it reasonably appears on its face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it, record the document title, number, and expiration date (if any), in the Updating and Reverification Section (Section 3), and sign in the appropriate space.

If the version of Form I-9 that you used for the employee's original verification is no longer valid, you must complete Section 3 of the current Form I-9 upon reverification and attach it to the original Form I-9.

You may want to establish a calendar call-up system for employees whose employment authorization will expire and provide the employee with at least 90 days notice prior to the expiration date of the employment authorization.

You may not reverify an expired U.S. passport or passport card, an Alien Registration Receipt Card/Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), or a List B document that has expired.

NOTE: You cannot refuse to accept a document because it has a future expiration date. You must accept any document (from List A or List C) listed on Form I-9 that on its face reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it. To do otherwise could be an unfair immigration-related employment practice in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the INA.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

What should I do if I need to reverify an employee who filled out an earlier version of Form I-9?Expand

If you originally used a version of Form I-9 when verifying the employee that is no longer valid, and you are now reverifying the employment authorization of that employee, the employee must provide any document(s) he or she chooses from either a List A document or a List C document of the employee's choice from the current Lists of Acceptable Documents. Enter this new document(s) in Section 3 of the current version of Form I-9 and retain it with the previously completed Form I-9. To see if your form is an acceptable version of Form I-9, go to www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

What am I required to do if my F-1 student with a 17-month STEM OPT extension receives an additional 7-month STEM OPT extension?Expand

If an application for a 7-month STEM OPT extension is approved, USCIS will issue an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with a validity period that starts on the day after the expiration date listed on the 17-month STEM OPT EAD. For uninterrupted employment, the employer should complete Section 3 and use the student's new EAD (granting the additional 7-month STEM OPT extension) to complete Section 3 of Form I-9 no later than the date that employment authorization expires.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2016

The Enhanced Form I-9 does not have an option in Section 3 to record only the I-94 card. The employer must either select “Foreign passport with Form I-94, endorsement” or “Employment auth. document (DHS).” Which one should I select?Expand

In Section 3, the employee is only required to present a document that shows continued employment authorization. If the employee originally presented a foreign passport with Form I-94, the employee may present an unexpired I-94 at the time of reverification or any List A or List C document. If the employee provided only the unexpired I-94 for reverification, the employer may select “Employment auth. Document (DHS)” on the Enhanced Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

What should I do if my transgender employee changes their name? Expand

As stated in The Handbook for Employers (M-274), in the case of a rehire or reverification, if employees have had a legal name change, record their new legal name in the space provided in Section 3 of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. If you learn of employees’ legal name change at any time other than during a rehire or reverification, USCIS recommends that you update Form I-9 with their new name in the space provided in Section 3; however, this is not required. It is important that you maintain correct information on the Form I-9.

In either situation, you should take steps to be reasonably assured of your employees’ identity and the accuracy of their claim of a legal name change. These steps may include asking the employee to provide justification for the legal name change and documentation of the name change to keep with Form I-9. This ensures that your actions are well-documented in the event of a Form I-9 inspection.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/07/2017

Questions About Documents

Why can't the US military ID be used for both B&C columns in the acceptable requirements list?Expand

Current Form I-9 regulations do not designate the military ID as an acceptable List C document; the military ID is only an acceptable List B identity document (see 8 CFR 274a.2(b)(1)(v)(B)). Any revisions to the Form I-9 Lists of Acceptable Documents would require a statutory or regulatory change.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/10/2015

Can an employer accept a refugee or asylee's Form I-94 with a handwritten number on it?Expand

When a refugee or asylee does not have a foreign passport Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provides the individual a paper Form I-94. The pre-printed Form I-94 number will be crossed out and the actual electronic Form I-94 number will be handwritten on the document.

A Form I-94 with an unexpired refugee admission stamp and a handwritten number on it is acceptable as a receipt for a List A document for a refugee. At the end of the 90-day receipt period, the employee must present either an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766); or a valid document from List B and an unrestricted Social Security card.

A Form I-94 with a stamp or notation indicating asylee status and a handwritten number on it is acceptable as a List C document for an asylee. If the asylee chooses to present this document, he or she also will need to present a List B document.

Additional information on the Form I-94 is available at www.CBP.gov.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/03/2015

Is a confirmation receipt an acceptable receipt for a lost Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (Form I-766)?Expand

The confirmation receipt printed from the USCIS website states that it is not a receipt notice and cannot be used as evidence of a pending application. It is not an acceptable receipt for a lost EAD. Form I-797C, Notice of Action, which is mailed to the employee by USCIS is an acceptable receipt to acknowledge that an application for a replacement EAD has been submitted.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/06/2015

Is an unexpired Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151) acceptable as a List B or List C document for Form I-9?Expand

Form I-151 is not acceptable as a List A, B, or C document. A 1993 final rule terminated the validity of Form I-151 and removed it from List A of Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/06/2015

Can an F-1 student eligible for on-campus employment or curricular practical training present a List B document, such as a driver's license or school ID, along with a Form I-94 and Form I-20 as a List C document when completing Form I-9?Expand

Yes. Form I-94, in combination with Form I-20 is an acceptable List C #7 document. The documents individually do not qualify.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

When does the 90-day validity period begin for an employee presenting a receipt for the application for the replacement of any lost, stolen, or damaged List A, List B, or List C document?Expand

An employee must present the actual document for which a receipt was issued within 90 days of his or her first day of employment. In the case of reverification, the employee must present an actual document within 90 days from the date by which reverification is required (i.e., when his or her employment authorization expires).

For example, if an employee begins work on Monday, the employer should count Tuesday as Day 1 and count 90 days to determine the validity period of the receipt.

If the same employee begins work on Monday but does not provide the receipt to complete Section 2 until Thursday, the employer should still count Tuesday as Day 1 and count 90 days to determine the validity period of the receipt.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

My company currently keeps copies of documentation presented by my employees for Form I-9. We would like to end this. How should we implement this change?Expand

Form I-9 regulations allow employers to choose whether or not to keep copies of documentation employees submit to complete Form I-9. Therefore, you may choose to begin or end the practice of keeping copies of documentation at any time, as long as you do so for all employees, regardless of national origin or citizenship status, or you may be in violation of anti-discrimination laws.

You should not shred previously retained copies of documents. DHS regulations provide that once copies of documents are made, they must be retained with the Forms I-9 or with the employee's records.

Additionally, if you participate in E-Verify and the employee presented a document used as part of Photo Matching, currently the U.S. passport and passport card, Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) and the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766), you must retain a photocopy of the document he or she presented and continue to retain a photocopies of these documents if presented by new hires.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/21/2014

My employee presented me with a document issued by INS rather than DHS. Can I accept it?Expand

Yes, you can accept a document issued by INS if the document is unexpired and reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual presenting it. Effective March 1, 2003, the functions of the former INS were transferred to three agencies within the new DHS: USCIS, CBP, and ICE. Most immigration documents acceptable for Form I-9 use are issued by USCIS. Some documents issued by the former INS before March 1, 2003, such as Permanent Resident Cards or Forms I-94 noting asylee status, may still be within their period of validity. If otherwise acceptable, a document should not be rejected because it was issued by INS rather than DHS. It should also be noted that INS documents may bear dates of issuance after March 1, 2003, as it took some time in 2003 to modify document forms to reflect the new USCIS identity.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/21/2014

Can DHS double-check the status of an individual I hired, or "run" his or her number (typically an Alien Number or Social Security number) and tell me if it is valid?Expand

DHS cannot double-check the status of your new hire. If you participate in E-Verify, it confirms the employment authorization of your newly hired employees. You may call DHS at 1-888-464-4218 or visit www.dhs.gov/E- Verify for more information on E-Verify. You also may contact DHS if you have a legitimate reason to believe documentation may not be valid.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/21/2014

The name on the document my employee presented to me is spelled slightly differently than the name she entered in Section 1 of Form I-9. Can I accept this document?Expand

If the document contains a slight spelling variation, and the employee has a reasonable explanation for the variation, the document is acceptable as long as you are satisfied that the document otherwise reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to him or her.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/21/2014

My employee's Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) expired and the employee now wants to show me a Social Security card. Do I need to see a current DHS document?Expand

No, as long as the Social Security card is unrestricted. Your employee must be allowed to choose what documentation to present from either List A or List C. If an employee presents an unrestricted Social Security card upon reverification, the employee does not also need to present a current DHS document. However, if an employee presents a restricted Social Security card upon reverification (a card that includes one of the following restrictions on its face: Not valid for employment, Valid for work only with INS work authorization, Valid for work only with DHS authorization), you must reject the restricted Social Security card, since it is not an acceptable Form I-9 document, and ask the employee to choose different documentation from List A or List C of Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/21/2014

When can employees present receipts for documents in lieu of actual documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents?Expand

The "receipt rule" is designed to cover situations in which an employee is authorized to work at the time of initial hire or reverification, but he or she is not in possession of a document listed on the Lists of Acceptable Documents accompanying Form I-9 because the document is lost, stolen or damaged. Receipts showing that a person has applied for an initial grant of employment authorization or for renewal of employment authorization are not acceptable.

Your employee may present a receipt in lieu of a document listed on Form I-9 to complete Section 2 or Section 3 of Form I-9. The receipt is valid for a temporary period. There are three different documents that qualify as receipts under the rule:

  1. A receipt for a replacement document when the document has been lost, stolen, or damaged. The receipt is valid for 90 days. In the case of reverification the receipt is valid until the date your employee's employment authorization expires. At the end of the receipt validity period, the individual must present the replacement document to complete Form I-9.

    NOTE: This rule does not apply to employees who present receipts for new documents following the expiration of their previously held document.

  2. A Form I-94/I-94A containing a temporary I-551 stamp and a photograph of the individual, which is considered a receipt for the Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).The individual must present Form I-551 by the expiration date of the temporary I-551 stamp or within one year from the date of issuance of Form I-94/I-94A if the I-551 stamp does not contain an expiration date.
  3. A Form I-9 containing an unexpired refugee admission stamp or computer-generated printout of Form I-94 with an admission class of "RE". This is considered a receipt for either an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or a combination of an unrestricted Social Security card and List B document. Your employee must present Form I-766 or an unrestricted Social Security card in combination with a List B document to complete Form I-9 within 90 days after the date of hire or the date employment authorization expires, in the case of reverification.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/03/2015

When I review an employee's identity and employment authorization documents, should I make copies of them?Expand

If you participate in E-Verify and the employee presents a document used as part of Photo Matching, currently the U.S. passport and passport card, Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) and the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766), you must retain a photocopy of the document he or she presents. Other documents may be added to Photo Matching in the future. If you do not participate in E-Verify, you are not required to make photo copies of documents. However, if you wish to make photocopies of documents other than those used in E-Verify, you must do so for all employees. Photocopies must not be used for any other purpose. Photocopying documents does not relieve you of your obligation to fully complete Section 2 of Form I-9, nor is it an acceptable substitute for proper completion of Form I-9 in general.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/21/2014

May my employee present an extension for the receipt they presented when he or she originally completed Form I-9?Expand

No. After expiration of the receipt validity period, the employee must present the actual document for which the receipt was presented. Presenting another receipt at the end of this period is not permissible. Under Form I-9 rules, the receipt rule permits an employee to present a "receipt" in lieu of the document itself that satisfies the document presentation requirement for a limited period of time.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

My company wants to hire a foreign student who says they are allowed to work for any employer because of economic hardship. Can they work for my company?Expand

Yes. F-1 students may be authorized to work due to severe economic hardship. If granted such work authorization by USCIS, these students are issued Form I-766, "Employment Authorization Card," that is not limited in the type of employment they may accept. Form I-94 indicating F-1 nonimmigrant status and Form I-20 are not sufficient to show employment authorization for economic hardship-based employment authorization granted by USCIS.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

My employee has presented a document where the photograph on the document does not look like my employee. What should I do?Expand

Employers are not expected to be document experts. Employers may reject a document presented by an employee if the document does not reasonably appear to be genuine or to relate to the person presenting it and ask for another acceptable document.

If an employer suspects a document to be fraudulent, he or she may report the incident to ICE by calling toll-free at 1-866-DHS-2ICE.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

May I review my employees documents via webcam to complete Form I-9?Expand

No. When completing Section 2 of the Form I-9, the employer or authorized representative of the employer must physically examine each original document to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the employee presenting it. Document examination or review via webcam is not permissible.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

May I accept a photocopy of a document presented by my employee?Expand

No. Employees must present original documents. The only exception is that your employee may present a certified copy of a birth certificate.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

May I accept an expired document for Form I-9?Expand

No. Expired documents are no longer accept­able for Form I-9. However, you may accept Employment Authorization Documents (Forms I-766) and Permanent Resident Cards (Forms I-551) that appear to be expired on their face, but have been extended by USCIS.

For example, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries whose Employment Authorization Documents (Forms I-766) appear to be expired may be automatically extended in a Federal Register notice. These individuals may continue to work based on their expired Employment Authorization Documents (Forms I-766) dur­ing the automatic extension period specified in the Federal Register notice. When the automatic extension of the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) expires, you must reverify the employee's employment authoriza­tion. In addition, you may accept an expired Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) along with a Form I-797, Notice of Action, that indicates that the card is valid for an additional year, which is an acceptable List C evidence of employment authorization for one year as indicated on Form I-797.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

My new employee presented two documents to complete Form I-9, each containing a different last name. One document matches the name entered in Section 1. Can I accept the document with the different name?Expand

You may accept a document with a different name than the name entered in Section 1 provided that you resolve the question of whether the document reasonably relates to the employee. You also may wish to attach a brief memo to Form I-9 stating the reason for the name discrepancy, along with any supporting documentation the employee provides. An em­ployee may provide documentation to support his or her name change, but is not required to do so. If, however, you determine that the docu­ment with a different name does not reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to her, you may ask her to provide other documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

My employee entered multiple last names in Section 1 of Form I-9. The documents she presented contain only one of these names. May I accept this document?Expand

DHS does not require employees to use any specific naming standard for Form I-9. If a new employee enters more than one last name in Section 1, but presents a document that contains only one of those last names, the document he or she presents for Section 2 is acceptable as long as you are satisfied that the document reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to him or her.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

My employee attested to a citizenship status that differs from the documentation they presented for Form I-9. What should I do?Expand

In these situations, you should first ensure that your employee understood and properly com­pleted the Section 1 attestation of their citizenship status. If your employee made a mistake and corrects the at­testation, he or she should initial and date the correction, or complete a new Form I-9. If a new Form I-9 is completed, the original Form I-9 should be attached to it with an explanation as to why a new form was completed. If an electronically generated Form I-9 is completed, the audit trail should reflect these changes.

If your employee confirms they properly completed their initial attestation, you should not accept the document(s) if they do not match the status selected by your employee. Although you are not expected to be an immigration law expert, if the documents in question are inconsistent with the status attested to, then the documents do not reason­ably relate to the person presenting them.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

May I fire an employee who fails to produce the required documents within three business days of his or her start date?Expand

Yes. You may terminate an employee who fails to produce the required document or documents, or an acceptable receipt for a document, within three business days of the date employment begins.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

What is my responsibility concerning the authenticity of document(s) presented to me?Expand

You must examine the document(s), and if they reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them, you must accept them. To do otherwise could be an unfair immigration-related employment practice. If the document(s) do not reasonably appear on their face to be genuine or to relate to the person presenting them, you must not accept them. You may ask if the employee has other documentation that would satisfy Form I-9 requirements.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/20/2014

May I specify which documents I will accept for verification?Expand

No. The employee may choose which document(s) he or she wants to present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. You must accept any document (from List A) or combination of documents (one from List B and one from List C) listed on Form I-9 that reasonably appears on their face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them. To do otherwise could be an unfair immigration-related employment practice in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Individuals who look and/or sound foreign must not be treated differently in the recruiting, hiring, or verification process. For more information relating to discrimination during the Form I-9 process, contact the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) at:

  • 1-800-255-8155 (employers)
  • 1-800-255-7688 (employees)
  • 1-800-237-2515 (TDD) or
  • Visit IER's website at www.justice.gov/ier

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

My new employee provided a document that is not yet valid. Can I accept this document and complete Section 2?Expand

No, Section 2 of Form I-9 cannot be completed based on a future employment authorization date. Employees cannot begin employment until authorized to do so. The employee attestation in Section 1 and the employer attestation in Section 2 both require that each party attest to current employment authorization.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/18/2016

What documents can a refugee present to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification?Expand

A refugee may choose to present any applicable documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. DHS provides refugees electronic or paper Forms I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, as evidence of their status and employment authorization. A refugee's electronic Form I-94 contains the admission code of "RE" and a paper Form I-94 has a refugee admission stamp. A refugee may use his or her unexpired Form I-94 as a receipt for a document establishing both employment authorization and identity for 90 days. After issuance of Form I-94, USCIS will process an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) for a refugee. If an employee presented a Form I-94 with an unexpired refugee admission stamp as a receipt, before the end of 90 days, the employee must present either an Employment Authorization Document or a combination of a List B document and an unrestricted Social Security card.

A refugee's Department of State-issued Transportation Boarding Letter is an acceptable List B #2 identity document if it contains a photograph or identifying information (name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address) and appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/08/2016

What documents can an asylee present to complete Form I-9?Expand

An asylee may choose to present any applicable documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. DHS provides asylees a Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, with a stamp or notation indicating asylee status. This document is an acceptable List C document for an asylee. Asylees who present this document will also need to present a List B document. USCIS can issue asylees an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766), which is an acceptable List A document and which the employee may also choose to present.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/08/2016

Is there an acceptable receipt for a U.S. passport? We know employees may present a receipt for the replacement of any List A, List B, or List C document. However, Form I-9 does not have an option for U.S. passport and seems to have the option for every other possible document.Expand

Form DS-11 is the U.S. passport application form and Form DS-64 is a form used to report a lost or stolen passport or card so that the Department of State can enter that information into the Consular Lost or Stolen Passport System. Neither form is considered a receipt. The Department of State should be contacted if you have further questions regarding acceptability of U.S. passports as receipts.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

If documents create a group and the Form I-20 expires before the Form I-94 expires, how does an employer know if their employee has a valid Form I-94?Expand

In the case of an F-1 student, the foreign passport establishes identity and both Form I-94 and Form I-20 establish employment authorization. Reverification is triggered by the expiration of the employment authorization document that expires first. Both Form I-94 and Form I-20 should be treated as a group, and reverification should not be completed each time one of the documents in the group expires. To meet the reverification requirements, the employee may present any document of his or her choice from List A or List C. If the document that the employee chooses to present consists of a combination of documents (e.g., foreign passport with Form I-94 indicating the employee’s nonimmigrant classification that is work-authorized incident to status for a specific employer), then all documents must be recorded in Section 3.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Why doesn’t I-9 Central, the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9, or Form I-9 list all issuing authorities for documents acceptable for use in Section 2 of Form I-9?Expand

There are too many issuing authorities for us to list them all. Form I-9 contains some drop-down menus that list the issuing authorities authorized to approve a number of documents.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/30/2017

Is a temporary or emergency U.S. passport acceptable as a List A document?Expand

Yes. Employers can accept a U.S. passport, including a temporary passport or U.S. passport card issued by the U.S. Department of State, as long as it contains a photograph and, upon physical examination by the employer, appears to be genuine and relate to the employee. Employers may reference 8 CFR § 274a.2(b) for further guidance.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/26/2017

List A Documents - Work Authorization and Identity

My nonimmigrant employee has presented a foreign passport with a Form I-94/I-94A (List A, Item 5). How do I know if this employee is authorized to work?Expand

You, as the employer, likely have submitted a petition to USCIS on the nonimmigrant employee's behalf. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

  1. You made an offer of employment to a Canadian passport holder who entered the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with an offer letter from your company. This nonimmigrant worker will have a Form I-94/I-94A indicating a TN immigration status, and may choose to present it with his or her passport under List A. The employee may also present Form I-94/I-94A indicating a TN immigration status as a List C document, in which case your employee will need to present a List B document (e.g., Canadian driver's license) to satisfy Section 2 of Form I-9.
  2. A student working in on-campus employment or participating in curricular practical training.
  3. A J-1 exchange visitor.

Most employees who present a foreign passport in combination with a Form I-94 or I-94A (List A, Item 5) are restricted to work only for the employer who petitioned on their behalf. If you did not submit a petition for an employee who presents such documentation, then that nonimmigrant worker is not usually authorized to work for you.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

I noticed on Form I-9 that under List A there are three spaces for document numbers and expiration dates. Does this mean I have to see three List A documents?Expand

No. The additional spaces are provided in case an employee presents a List A document that is really a combination of more than one document. For example, one of the documents found in List A is a foreign passport with an attached Form I-94/I-94A, bearing the same name as the passport and containing endorsement of the individual's nonimmigrant status, if that status authorizes the individual to work for the employer. Form I-9 provides space for you to record the document number and expiration date for both the passport and Form I-94/I-94A.

If the employee is a student or exchange visitor, the employer should enter the employee's Form I-20 or DS-2019 number and the program end date from Form I-20 or DS-2019 in addition to the passport and Form I-94 information.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is an expired Permanent Resident Card with a valid sticker on the back extending the expiration date considered a valid List A document? Does this card need to be reverified? Expand

A Permanent Resident Card with a USCIS-issued sticker extending its validity is a List A document and acceptable for Form I-9. Employers are not required to reverify the employment eligibility of a lawful permanent resident and should not reverify the employment authorization of this employee.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/07/2018

Are schools required to put the employer's name on page 3 of the Form I-20 in order for the student to be authorized to work for that specific employer?Expand

Yes, the designated school official is required to enter the employer's name on a student's Form I-20 per the regulations governing F-1 nonimmigrant employment.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

May I accept an unsigned passport for Form I-9?Expand

Yes. An unsigned passport is acceptable for Form I-9 as long as the document reasonably appears on its face to be genuine and relate to the person presenting the document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/24/2014

Why was documentation for citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) added to the Lists of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9?Expand

Under the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and FSM and RMI, most citizens of FSM and RMI are eligible to reside and work in the United States as nonimmigrants. An amendment to the Compacts eliminated the need for citizens of these two countries to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766) to work in the United States. However, FSM and RMI citizens may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (Forms I-766) if they wish, or present a combination of List B and List C documents. The List A document specific to FSM and RMI citizens is a valid FSM or RMI passport with a Form I-94/I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under one of the Compacts.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

My employee has presented a U.S. passport card. Is this an acceptable document?Expand

Yes. The passport card is a wallet-size document issued by the U.S. Department of State. While its permissible uses for international travel are more limited than the U.S. Passport book, the passport card is a fully valid passport that attests to the U .S. citizenship and identity of the bearer. As such, the unexpired passport card has been included on List A of the Lists of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/24/2014

Can I accept a Permanent Resident Card that is not signed but says 'signature Waived"?Expand

Yes, this card is acceptable for Form I-9 purposes as long as it is unexpired and appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it. A signature is not required on a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) for it to be valid for Form I-9 purposes.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/28/2015

Is an F-1 student's Form I-20 information required for Form I-9 when he/she is participating in on-campus employment?Expand

To complete Form I-9 for on-campus employment, the F-1 student employee is only required to present an unexpired foreign passport and an I-94 indicating F-1 nonimmigrant status. Employers are not required to record information from the student's Form I-20 in Section 2. On-campus employment is authorized until the completion of the student's course of study. The F-1 nonimmigrant admission notation on Form I-94/I-94A usually states "D/S" which means duration of status. The F-1 student's Form I-20 bears the latest date by which studies are to be completed. This date can be used as the date by which the employers should reverify the student's employment authorization and should be entered by the employee in Section 1.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/18/2016

When CBP admits an H-1B nonimmigrant to the U.S., the officer may issue a Form I-94 that is valid for 10 days past the validity of the H-1B petition. Is the date employment authorization expires the Form I-94 "Admit until Date" or the date on the Form I-797 Approval Notice? Expand

When completing Form I-9 in this situation, the employee should enter the H-1B petition expiration date from the Form I-797 approval notice in Section 1. In Section 2, the employer should enter the expiration date from the Form I-94 the employee presents.

If the expiration date for employment authorization provided by an employee in Section 1 does not match the expiration date of the List A or List C document the employee presents for Section 2, employers should reverify the employee's work authorization no later than the earlier of the two dates.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/18/2016

Based on the new Form I-9 drop-down options for the List A document issuing authority, all that is available for a foreign passport is a list of countries. Are country of issuance and issuing authority the same thing for foreign passport?Expand

Yes, for foreign passports, the country of issuance is the issuing authority, since each country may have a different name for its passport-issuing department. For passports issued in the United States, the issuing authority is the U.S. Department of State.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/18/2017

List B Documents - Identity

Are driver authorization and driver privilege cards acceptable List B documents?Expand

Yes. A driver authorization or driver privilege card issued by a State or outlying possession of the United States is an acceptable List B document, if it contains a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, sex, height, color of eyes, and address. An employer must examine the document presented by its employee and determine whether it meets Form I-9 requirements. If the employer accepts a driver authorization or driver privilege card as a List B document, the employer must also examine a List C document establishing employment authorization.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/19/2015

If I accept a driver authorization or driver privilege card as a List B identity document, will that show I knew or should have known that my employee is not authorized to work?Expand

The fact that an employee presents or an employer accepts a driver privilege or authorization card that meets Form I-9 requirements as a List B identity document does not, in and of itself, support a conclusion that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge (i.e. knew or should have known) that an employee is not employment authorized.

Under DHS regulations (8 CFR 274a.1(l)), whether an employer is considered to have actual or constructive knowledge that an employee is not authorized to work is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends upon all of the facts and variables specific to the individual case.

Under 8 CFR 274a.1(l), a knowing hire violation can include, in addition to actual knowledge of unlawful status, constructive knowledge that may be fairly inferred through notice of certain facts and circumstances, which would lead the employer through the exercise of reasonable care, to know about a certain condition. Knowledge that an employee is unauthorized may not be inferred from an employee's foreign appearance or accent.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/21/2015

Can I refuse to accept a driver privilege or driver authorization card and ask my employee to provide a different document?Expand

No. You must accept any document that satisfies Form I-9 requirements. You may reject a document if it does not reasonably appear to be genuine or to relate to the employee. Rejecting a document that satisfies Form I-9 requirements may constitute illegal discrimination under the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/19/2015

Is a state-issued driver's license with the notation "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY," "NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES," or other similar notation on the front or back of the license an acceptable List B document?Expand

Yes. The notation "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY," "NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES" or a similar notation on the front or back of a state-issued driver's license indicates it does not meet the standards for the issuance and production of a compliant card under the REAL ID Act (for information on REAL ID, see http://www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses).

A driver's license with this type of notation is, however, an acceptable List B document if it contains a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, sex, height, color of eyes, and address. An employer must examine the document presented by its employee and determine whether it meets Form I-9 requirements. If the employer accepts any document, including a state-issued license with a limiting notation, as a List B document, the employer must also examine a List C document establishing employment authorization.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/19/2015

If I accept a driver's license that includes the notation "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY," "NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES," or other similar notation on the front or back of the license, as a List B identity document will that show I knew or should have known that my employee is not authorized to work?Expand

The fact that an employee presents or an employer accepts as a List B identity document a driver's license that meets Form I-9 requirements but contains "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY," "NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES," or other similar notation on the front or back of the license, does not, in and of itself, support a conclusion that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge (i.e. knew or should have known) that an employee is not employment authorized.

Under DHS regulations (8 CFR 274a.1(l)), whether an employer is considered to have actual or constructive knowledge that an employee is not authorized to work is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends upon all of the facts and variables specific to the individual case.

Under 8 CFR 274a.1(l), a knowing hire violation can include, in addition to actual knowledge of unlawful status, constructive knowledge that may be fairly inferred through notice of certain facts and circumstances, which would lead the employer through the exercise of reasonable care, to know about a certain condition. Knowledge that an employee is unauthorized may not be inferred from an employee's foreign appearance or accent.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/19/2015

Can I refuse to accept a driver's license that includes the notation "FEDERAL LIMITS APPLY," "NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR OFFICIAL FEDERAL PURPOSES," or other similar notation on the front or back of the license and ask my employee to provide a different document?Expand

No. You must accept any document that satisfies Form I-9 requirements. You may reject a document if it does not reasonably appear to be genuine or to relate to the employee. Rejecting a document that satisfies Form I-9 requirements may constitute illegal discrimination under the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employees presenting a driver's license for identification purposes must also present a List C document to show work authorization.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/19/2015

I understand that some states, such as California, issue certain types of driver's licenses, driver authorization cards, or driver privilege cards to individuals who do not present evidence of lawful presence in the United States. If I recognize a driver's license or card presented to me for Form I-9 List B purposes as this type of license or card, should I still accept it?Expand

Yes. Form I-9 requirements do not distinguish between different types of driver's licenses or cards. If the license or card reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the individual, and otherwise meets Form I-9 requirements (contains a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, sex, height, color of eyes, and address), it should be accepted. If the employer accepts any document, including a state-issued license with a limiting notation, as a List B document, the employer must also examine a List C document establishing employment authorization.

The fact that an employee presents or an employer accepts a List B identity document such as a driver's license or card that meets Form I-9 requirements but is a license or card issued by a state that does not require evidence of lawful presence in the United States, does not, in and of itself, support a conclusion that the employer had actual or constructive knowledge (i.e. knew or should have known) that an employee is not employment authorized.

Under DHS regulations (8 CFR 274a.1(l)), whether an employer is considered to have actual or constructive knowledge that an employee is not authorized to work is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends upon all of the facts and variables specific to the individual case.

Under 8 CFR 274a.1(l), a knowing hire violation can include, in addition to actual knowledge of unlawful status, constructive knowledge that may be fairly inferred through notice of certain facts and circumstances, which would lead the employer through the exercise of reasonable care, to know about a certain condition. Knowledge that an employee is unauthorized may not be inferred from an employee's foreign appearance or accent.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/22/2015

Is a state ID card with no expiration date an acceptable List B document?Expand

A state ID card without an expiration date is an acceptable List B document if it meets the regulatory requirements (must contain a photograph or identifying information) and appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

Is the Nexus card an acceptable document?Expand

The NEXUS card is an acceptable List B #2 document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can the Certificate of Indian Status, commonly referred to as the status card or INAC card, be used as a Native American tribal document for Form I-9 purposes?Expand

No. The Canadian government issues the INAC cards. These cards are not acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is a Mexico Consular ID Card an acceptable document for the Form I-9?Expand

No. The Mexican government issues consular ID cards to Mexican nationals living in the United States. These cards are not acceptable proof of identity for Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is a state-issued temporary driver's license an acceptable List B document?Expand

A state-issued temporary driver's license is an acceptable Form I-9 List B document if it contains a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address. Any conditions on the temporary driver's license, such as that the expired license must accompany the temporary driver's license for it to be valid, must be followed.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

Does a state-issued enhanced driver's license qualify as a List A document?Expand

No, the enhanced driver's license is a List B document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is a Trusted Traveler card, or SENTRI card an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes?Expand

SENTRI cards, also known as Trusted Traveler cards, are acceptable under List B, #2 as an ID card issued by a federal agency. SENTRI cards are issued by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is the Armed Forces of the United States Report of Transfer or Discharge (DD-214) an acceptable document for Form I-9?Expand

The DD-214 is an acceptable List B #5 document for Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

My employee provided a school ID. When does a school ID expire?Expand

If the school ID contains no expiration date other than the school year, it expires at the end of the school year printed on it.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

May I make a copy of a military ID for Form I-9 documentation?Expand

You may make a photocopy of the military ID card for Form I-9 purposes. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act governing the Form I-9 process, the copying of documentation is permitted.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) issued by Bureau of Indian Affairs an acceptable List B #2 document for Form I-9?Expand

The CDIB is an acceptable document and meets the criteria as a List B #2 card issued by a federal agency containing a photograph. It is not a Native American tribal document and would not be acceptable as a List B #8 document. The employee will also need to provide a List C employment authorization document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 02/18/2016

Are the Veterans Affairs issued Veterans Identification Card (VIC) and Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC) acceptable List B documents?Expand

The VIC and VHIC are acceptable List B #2 documents if the card contains a photograph or identifying information (such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address) and appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it. These cards are not considered List B #5 or #6 documents which are issued by the U.S. Armed Forces.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/08/2016

Are digital driver’s licenses acceptable as a List B document?Expand

No, not at this time. USCIS is aware of the efforts to develop digital driver’s licenses for residents of some states. These efforts are in their early stages, and we are in the process of evaluating digital licenses and their potential use in the employment verification process. When we have determined whether and how digital licenses might be used, we plan to publish updated information and guidance for the public. At this time, we only accept paper and hard copy versions of driver’s licenses.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/26/2017

List C Documents - Work Authorization

Is a Form I-94 stamped with "parole" an acceptable List C #7 document?Expand

No. A Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, stamped with "parole" is not evidence of employment authorization and, therefore, is not an acceptable List C document. Before parolees can work, they must apply for employment authorization. If we approve their application, we will issue an Employment Authorization Document, which is an acceptable List A document.

Note: A foreign entrepreneur paroled under the International Entrepreneur Rule Program is authorized employment incident to the grant of parole. The paroled entrepreneur’s foreign passport and Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, bearing the same name as the passport and unexpired endorsement of the entrepreneur’s parole (PE-1) are acceptable as a List A document.

 

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/16/2018

Is a receipt for the application of a birth certificate an acceptable receipt for I-9 purposes?Expand

An employee may present a receipt for the application of a birth certificate issued by a State, county, municipal authority or territory of the United States, if he/she is not in possession of the actual document because it was lost, stolen or damaged. The receipt is valid for 90 days after which the employee must present a certified copy of the actual birth certificate. A receipt showing that a person has applied for an initial birth certificate is unacceptable.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 11/25/2014

Some employees have presented Social Security Administration printouts with their name, Social Security number, date of birth, and their parents? names as proof of employment authorization. Are these printouts acceptable as a List B document?Expand

No. Only a person's Social Security card or a receipt for a replacement card issued by SSA is acceptable.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

What should I do if an employee presents a Social Security card marked "NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT," but states that he or she is now authorized to work?Expand

Such Social Security cards are not acceptable document for Form I-9. You should ask the employee to provide another document to establish his or her employment authorization.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can the Certificate of Indian Status, commonly referred to as the status card or INAC card, be used as a Native American tribal document for Form I-9 purposes?Expand

No. This card is not a Native American tribal document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

How do I know whether a Native American tribal document issued by a U.S. tribe presented by my employee is acceptable for Form I-9 purposes?Expand

In order to be acceptable, a Native American tribal document should be issued by a tribe recognized by the U.S. Federal Government. Because federal recognition of tribes can change over time, to determine if the tribe is federally recognized, please check the Bureau of Indian Affairs website at www.bia.gov.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

The Certificate of Naturalization states you may not make a copy of it. As an employer, I make copies of all documents for Form I-9. May I make a copy of the Certificate of Naturalization?Expand

Yes. You may make a copy of the Certification of Naturalization for the purposes of Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is the Certificate of Naturalization an acceptable Form I-9 document?Expand

Yes. The Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570) is an acceptable List C, #7 employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security. These documents were previously issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is a Certificate of Live Birth an acceptable List C document?Expand

A Certificate of Live Birth may qualify as a birth certificate (No. 4 on List C of the Lists of Acceptable Documents) if it is an original or a certified copy that is issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or outlying possession of the United States and bears an official seal. Versions of birth certificates can vary greatly based on the issuing authority and year of birth.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Are employment authorization documents (I-766) stating ?Fingerprint not available? acceptable for Form I-9?Expand

Yes, these documents are acceptable for Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Where can I find an example of an acceptable Native American Tribal Document for Form I-9?Expand

Each federally recognized tribe may issue its own unique tribal document based on tribal records and information. USCIS does not have examples of these tribal documents nor can it provide guidelines on specific tribal documents. A list of federally recognized tribes is annually published in the Federal Register. For more information about Native American tribes in the United States go to www.bia.gov.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/10/2015

Is a birth certificate issued by the Panama Canal Zone in 1968 an acceptable List C document?Expand

A birth certificate issued by the Panama Canal Zone in 1968 is not an acceptable List C document because the zone is not a State, county, municipal authority, or an outlying possession of the United States.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) an acceptable List C document?Expand

No. However, the TWIC card is an acceptable List B identity document.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/11/2016

Is a Social Security card with the annotation "For Social Security and Tax Purposes Only" acceptable for Form I-9?Expand

Yes. There are currently 50 different versions of the Social Security card, all of which may be valid for employment. Visit the Social Security website to see the chart that lists the changes in the SSN card through the years.

Cards that are NOT acceptable List C documents may include any one of the following annotations:

  • NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.
  • VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION.
  • VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/28/2014

Is an unsigned Social Security card valid?Expand

Yes. A signature on the card is not required for the card to be valid. You may accept an unsigned Social Security card as long as the card reason­ably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is a birth certificate issued by a hospital an acceptable List C document?Expand

The only birth certificate acceptable for Form I-9 purposes must be an original or certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority or outlying possession of the United States, bearing an official seal. USCIS cannot comment on whether or not a particular hospital is authorized to issue a birth certificate that meets the regulatory requirements.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 06/22/2018

Is a “verification of inclusion of a dependent in filing of Form I-751” an acceptable List C #8 document? Is Form I-797 extending a Lawful Permanent Resident Card under the principal foreign national’s name acceptable as proof of employment eligibility for a dependent child?Expand

Employers may accept any document that fits the description of an employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security. This includes a conditional resident’s expired Form I-551 in combination with a DHS document that verifies a dependent is included on the Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. The documentation should bear the name of the employee and state that the employee’s conditional resident status is extended and that he or she is authorized to work.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Self Audits

If an employer fails to make a copy of a List A document (subject to photo match) and they identify this error during a self audit, what should the employer do if the document is no longer available to copy?Expand

The employer should attach a note to the employee’s Form I-9 explaining the discrepancy. Ensure the note is signed and dated.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/02/2018

How should I correct errors or omissions found on my employee’s Form I-9?Expand

An employer may not correct errors or omissions in Section 1. If an employer discovers an error or omission in Section 1 of an employee’s Form I-9, the employer should ask the employee to correct the error. The best way to correct the error is to have the employee:

  • Draw a line through the incorrect information;
  • Enter the correct or omitted information; and
  • Initial and date the correction or omitted information.

Employees needing assistance to correct or enter omitted information in Section 1 can have a preparer and/or translator help with the correction or omitted information. The preparer or translator should:

  • Make the correction or note the omitted information or help the employee make the correction or note the omitted information. The employee or preparer or translator should draw a line through the incorrect information and enter the correct information or note the omitted information;
  • Have the employee initial and date the correction or omitted information if able; and
  • Initial and date the correction or omitted information next to the employee’s initials.

If the preparer and/or translator who helped with a correction or noted omitted information completed the preparer and/or translator certification block when the employee initially completed the Form I-9, he or she should not complete the certification block again. If the preparer and/or translator did not previously complete the preparer and/or translator certification block, he or she should:

  • Complete the certification block; or
  • If the certification block was previously completed by a different preparer and/or translator:

  • o Draw a line through the previous preparer and/or translator information; and
    o Enter the new preparer and/or translator information (and indicate “for corrections”).

If the employee is no longer working for the employer, the employer should attach to the existing form a signed and dated statement identifying the error or omission and explaining why corrections could not be made (e.g., because the employee no longer works for the employer).

An employer may only correct errors made in Section 2 or Section 3 of the Form I-9. The best way to correct the form is to:

  • Draw a line through the incorrect information;
  • Enter the correct or omitted information; and
  • Initial and date the correction or omitted information.

An employer should not conceal any changes made on the Form I-9—for example, by erasing text or using correction fluid, nor should the employer backdate the Form I-9. An employer that made multiple errors in Section 2 or 3 of the form may redo the section(s) containing the errors on a new Form I-9, and attach it to the previously completed form. An employer should attach an explanation of the changes made to an existing Form I-9 or the reason a new Form I-9 was completed, and sign and date the explanation.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2017

What should I do if I discover that a Form I-9 for my employee was not completed or is missing?Expand

If a Form I-9 was never completed or is missing, the current version of the Form I-9 should be completed as soon as possible. Employers should not backdate the form, but should clearly state the actual date employment began in the certification portion of Section 2. Employers should attach a signed and dated explanation of the corrective action taken.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2017

What should I do if the wrong version of Form I-9 was completed? Expand

As long as the Form I-9 documentation presented was acceptable under the Form I-9 rules that were current at the time of hire, employers may correct the error by stapling the outdated completed form to a blank current version, and signing the current blank version noting why the current blank version is attached (e.g., wrong edition was used at time of hire). In the alternative, employers may draft an explanation and attach it to the outdated completed Form I-9 explaining that the wrong form was filled out correctly and in good faith.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2017

Can a preparer/translator help correct a mistake on my employee's Form I-9?Expand

Employees needing assistance to correct or enter omitted information in Section 1 can have a preparer and/or translator help with the correction or omitted information. The preparer or translator should:

  • Make the correction or note the omitted information or help the employee make the correction or note the omitted information. The employee or preparer or translator should draw a line through the incorrect information and enter the correct information or note the omitted information;
  • Have the employee initial and date the correction or omitted information if able; and
  • Initial and date the correction or omitted information next to the employee’s initials.

If the preparer and/or translator who helped with a correction or noted omitted information completed the preparer and/or translator certification block when the employee initially completed the Form I-9, he or she should not complete the certification block again. If the preparer and/or translator did not previously complete the preparer and/or translator certification block, he or she should:

  • Complete the certification block; or
  • If the certification block was previously completed by a different preparer and/or translator:

  • o Draw a line through the previous preparer and/or translator information; and
    o Enter the new preparer and/or translator information (and indicate “for corrections”).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2017

My company uses a notary or authorized representative to help complete Form I-9. What is the best way to make a correction if the notary or authorized representative makes a mistake on my employee's form?Expand

The notary or authorized representative acts as an agent for the employer. The employer, the notary or authorized representative may make corrections to Forms I-9 as needed. To make corrections, an employer should line through the incorrect information, enter the correct information, and initial and date the change. Electronic Forms I-9 should reflect all changes in their audit trail.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2017

Where can I learn more about self-audits?Expand

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) in the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice have provided joint guidance to help employers perform internal audits in a way that complies with their legal obligations under the laws those agencies enforce. View the Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/20/2017

Storing Form I-9

Does DHS have an opinion or guidance personal information collected on Form I-9 or other DHS-related forms as it pertains to the European Union and the General Data Protection Regulation?Expand

DHS has not issued any opinion or guidance on this topic. Employers hiring employees in the United States remain at all times required to comply with U.S. laws, regulations, and guidance regarding verification of employment authorization.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/02/2018

Am I required to retain original Forms I-9 with signatures or are photocopies or faxed copies acceptable?Expand

Employers who complete and retain Form I-9 in paper format only must retain the Form I-9 with the original handwritten signatures. Employers must retain Forms I-9 for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date the individual's employment is terminated, whichever is later. Photocopies or faxed copies of completed Form I-9 are not acceptable to meet this retention requirement.

Employers may choose to scan and upload the original, signed forms to retain them electronically. Once these Forms I-9 are securely stored in electronic format, the original paper Forms I-9 may be destroyed.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/06/2015

Where do I mail a completed Form I-9?Expand

Never mail Forms I-9 to USCIS or ICE. Employers must keep completed Forms I-9 on file for each person on their payroll (or otherwise receiving remuneration) who is required to complete the form. Employers must also keep completed Forms I-9 for a certain amount of time after their employees stop working for them.

For more information see retaining and storing Forms I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/28/2015

How can I protect private information on Forms I-9?Expand

Since Form I-9 contains an employee's private information, and you are required to retain forms for specific periods of time, you should ensure that you protect that private information, and that it is used only for Form I-9 purposes. To protect employees' private information, ensure that completed Forms I-9 and all supporting photocopies of documents are stored in a safe, secure location. Ensure that only authorized individuals can access these documents. For more information on protecting electronically stored Forms I-9 please refer to the Handbook for Employers (M-274) (PDF).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

If a natural disaster or any other unforeseen occurrence destroys a company's stored Forms I-9, what should the company do?Expand

Employers whose Forms I-9 are missing and/or destroyed as a result of a natural disaster or any other unforeseen occurrence should complete new Forms I-9 to the extent reasonably possible and attach a memo stating the reason new Forms I-9 were redone or why it was not possible to redo the Forms I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Does an employee have the right to review his or her completed Form I-9? Can a copy be given to the employee?Expand

Under the Form I-9 rules and regulations, the employer is responsible for completing and retaining Form I-9. However, an employer may choose to permit an employee to review his or her completed Form I-9 and receive a copy of it.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/08/2016

Electronic Form I-9

As an electronic Form I-9 provider, can I alter or add fields to Form I-9?Expand

Employers are not allowed to add additional data fields or language to Form I-9. Section 8 CFR 274a.2(a)(2) states that Form I-9 can be electronically generated or retained, provided there is no change to the name, content, or sequence of the data elements and instructions; no additional data elements or language are inserted; and the standards specified under paragraphs (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i), as applicable, are met.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/10/2015

Is it possible to use an eNotary (electronic notary) on the Form I-9?Expand

There is no prohibition in the laws governing the I-9 that would preclude a Notary, acting as the employer's authorized representative, from using an eNotary (electronic notary) to sign the Form I-9 as long as all of the Form I-9 requirements are met. The notary would need to physically examine the documents the employee presents to establish identity and work authorization and determine whether the documents presented reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the individual. The employee must be physically present with the examiner of the documents during the examination. The person who examines the documents must be the same person who completes and signs Section 2. In addition, if a Form I-9 is completed electronically, the form and process used must be in compliance with 8 CFR 274a.2(e)-(i). Online audio-video conference technology is not an acceptable method of examining documents for the purpose of the Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is the DHS seal required when creating an electronic Form I-9?Expand

The DHS seal is not required when creating an electronic Form I-9 and should be left off the form.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Can I obtain an unlocked pdf. version of Form I-9 from USCIS?Expand

No. The Form I-9 must remain in a locked pdf. format in order to ensure its integrity. You obtain a locked version by clicking here.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

How can I add an electronic signature field to Form I-9?Expand

Employers who wish to implement an electronic Form I-9 with an electronic signature function may re-create a Form I-9 that includes such a function, as long as the resulting form is legible; there is no change to the name, content, or sequence of the data elements and instructions; no additional data elements or language are inserted; and the standards specified under 8 CFR 274a.2(e) through (i), as applicable, are met. The system used to generate and store the electronic Form I-9 also must comply with regulations found at 8 CFR 274a.2 (e)-(i). See pages 28-29 of the Handbook for Employers (M-274) (PDF): Instructions for Completing Form I-9 for more information.

The Form I-9 posted to the USCIS website does not currently have an electronic signature function.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

When creating our Form I-9, are we required to have the question mark/helper text? May we incorporate the helper text information as part of the Form I-9 process within our Form I-9?Expand

The question marks that you see on the new Form I-9 do not print on the form. An electronic Form I-9 system does not need to have question marks that are linked to instructions. However, all employees must be provided a complete set of Form I-9 instructions. These instructions may be provided in a printed format or they may be provided in a digital format.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Is there a way to obtain an unencrypted Form I-9?Expand

Form I-9 is only available in a locked PDF format.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

When creating our Form I-9, do we need to limit the drop-down menus within Section 2 Lists A, B, and C to only populate certain fields?Expand

You are not required to limit the drop-down menus within Section 2 Lists A, B and C to only populate certain fields. Employers may, but are not required to, incorporate any or all of the enhancements built into the revised Form I-9 into their own electronic versions of the form. Employers are also not limited to only the enhancements available in the revised Form I-9. As provided in DHS regulations, developers must ensure that the name, content and sequence of the data elements and instructions of their electronic form match those of the print version of the USCIS-issued form and that no additional data elements or language is inserted. The electronic form must also meet the requirements of DHS regulations at 8 CFR 274 (e)-(i).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

We are creating a Form I-9. There is a box called Additional Information. The instructions say to use this to enter things such as the E-Verify case number, TPS extension information, and termination dates. Do we have to implement this?Expand

The Additional Information field must be available on your final product and is for information previously entered in the margins including the following information if the employee’s circumstances warrant:

• Employment authorization extensions for Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries; F-1 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics optional practical training students; cap gap students; H-1B and H-2A employees continuing employment with the same employer or changing employers; and other nonimmigrant categories that may receive extensions of stay

• Additional document(s) that certain nonimmigrant employees may present. For other types of information such as E-Verify case numbers and termination dates that may be entered in this field, how your company designs the functionality of this field is at your discretion. Employers may, but are not required to, incorporate any or all of the enhancements built into the revised Form I-9 into their own electronic versions of the form. They are also not limited to only the enhancements available in the revised Form I-9. As provided in DHS regulations, developers must ensure that the name, content and sequence of the data elements and instructions of their electronic form match those of the print version of the USCIS-issued form and that no additional data elements or language are inserted. The electronic form must also meet the requirements of DHS regulations at 8 CFR 274 (e)-(i).

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Are there established procedures for destroying a digital Form I-9 when the destruction date is reached?Expand

USCIS cannot comment on private business practices when the Form I-9 retention period has been reached. However, you must ensure that you comply with Form I-9 statutory and regulatory requirements. You must:

• Retain the Form I-9 for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment is terminated, whichever is later; and

• Make the form available for inspection by officers of DHS, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and the Department of Labor.

A completed Form I-9 contains personally identifiable information, such as an employee’s name, Social Security number, and address. This information must be protected and properly destroyed or disposed of if no longer needed.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/26/2017

Is the QR code required on an electronic version of the Form I-9?Expand

No. The QR code, a feature of the revised Form I-9 available on USCIS.gov that generates upon printing, consolidates all of the information entered into each field in each section when the form is completed on a computer. The QR code is an optional field that should be left blank if the employer completes the form on paper. Further, employers and third-party developers may, but are not required to, incorporate the QR code feature when creating their own Forms I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/26/2017

Different Versions of Form I-9

Are employers in Puerto Rico required to use the Spanish version of Form I-9?Expand

No. Employers in Puerto Rico may complete either the Spanish or the English version of Form I-9 to verify new employees.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

Is Form I-9 available in different languages?Expand

Form I-9 is available in English and Spanish. However, only employers in Puerto Rico may complete the Spanish version to meet the verification and retention requirements of the law. Employers in the United States and other U.S. territories may use the Spanish version as a translation guide for Spanish-speaking employees, but the English version must be completed and retained in the employer's records. Employees may also use or ask for a preparer and/or translator to assist them in completing the form.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014

If Section 1 of Form I-9 is completed before the expiration date of the form, but Section 2 is not completed until after the form has expired, can the employer continue to use the original Form I-9 or must the employer complete Section 2 on the new version of Form I-9?Expand

Employers must use only the newest version of Form I-9. Whether the employee completes Section 1 of Form I-9 on the older version of Form I-9, the employer should complete Section 2 on the same version of the form, even if this occurs on or after the required start day for use of the new Form I-9.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

Where can I find the Office of Management and Budget number, expiration date and Lists of Acceptable Documents for previous versions of Form I-9?Expand

The release of any specific data regarding the collection, storage, content or processing of agency records or about a company’s privacy-protected information can only be obtained by filing a Freedom of Information Act request. For more information regarding Freedom of Information Act processing, see https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/freedom-information-and-privacy-act-foia/uscis-freedom-information-act-and-privacy-act. Please also note that DHS privacy documents, including Systems of Record Notices and other descriptions of E-Verify, can be found at http://www.dhs.gov/system-records-notices-sorns.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 05/16/2017

 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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