Tips for Reviewing the Form I-9

1.  An employer is responsible for personally reviewing original documentation that demonstrates an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the U.S.   If the employee does not possess the required documentation when employment begins, s/he may not submit receipt(s) showing s/he has filed initial applications for documents or applications for extension of documents.  For example, an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is generally valid as evidence of work authorization for one (1) year but the EAD may be renewed by submitting a new application to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  A receipt acknowledging such an application is unacceptable for I-9 purposes.

Employers may accept:

  • A receipt for a replacement document in lieu of a required document that was lost, stolen or damaged. The replacement document must be presented within 90 days of hire or in case of re-verification, by the date employment authorization expires

OR

  • As a receipt, the arrival portion of Form I-94 containing an unexpired temporary I-551 ADIT stamp (indicating temporary evidence of permanent resident status) and photograph of employee, until expiration date. If no expiration date is indicated, the employer may accept the receipt for one (1) year from the Form I-94 issue date.

OR

  • >If the employee was granted refugee status, the employer may accept as a receipt, Form I-94 containing refugee admission stamp as long as the employee presents:
    • The departure portion of Form I-94 containing unexpired refugee admission stamp and
    • Within ninety (90) days of hire (or in case of re-verification, the date employment authorization expires), an unexpired Form I-766 or Form I-688B (EADs) or social security card that contains no employment restrictions together with a document described under List B.

A receipt is never acceptable for employment lasting less than three (3) working days.

2.  List A or B documents from which employee cannot be identified are never acceptable.

3.  An unexpired foreign passport containing unexpired I-551 stamp constitutes temporary evidence of permanent resident status and must be re-verified at the time the stamp expires, but it is not a receipt.

4.  The employer may not use agents as shields!  With remote hires, an employer may designate agents like public notaries, attorneys or other trusted individuals to complete Section 2 review of documents.  The employer is bound by the agent’s actions and the agent must personally review the documents submitted by the employee.

5.  An employer cannot require a particular document or combination of documents and cannot require or accept any more documentation than minimally necessary to verify identity and work eligibility.

6.  The employer must review and accept documents that reasonably appear genuine and to relate to person presenting them.

7.  An employer may reject documents that do not appear to be genuine and request employee to provide other documentation to satisfy I-9 requirements.

8.  An employer must terminate those employees unable to present acceptable documents.

9.  An employer should be alert for signs of fraud, such as social security card that contains more than 9 digits or that begins with “000”.

10. An employer may, but is not required to, copy document (front & back) presented by  the employee solely to comply with Form I-9 requirements.  If done, it must be kept with the Form I-9 and Section 2 must still be completed.

11. If the employer retains copies of Form I-9 documentation, the employer MUST do so for all employees.

12. Employees with pending applications to extend stay can continue employment for 240 days beginning on date of expiration of authorized period of stay.  This provision includes visa petitions filed for:   A-3s, E-1s, E-2s, G-5s, H-1s, H-2As, H-2Bs, H-3s, Is, J-1s, L-1s, O-1s, O-2s, P-1s, P-2s, P-3s, R-1s and TNs.

13. To update a Form I-9, any expiration date noted in Sections 1 and 2 should clearly reflect an extension.  Updates should be initialed and dated.

14. Employees are not obliged to provide social security numbers in Section 1 of the Form I-9, unless employer participates in E-Verify.

15. An employer may now sign and retain I-9s electronically.

16. An employer should use the most recent Form I-9 version.