Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
Since November 6, 1986, employers are required to verify their employees' authorization to work in the United States by completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification with their employees within 3 business days of their start date. If the newly hired employee does not complete the form in that timeframe and/or cannot produce the supporting documents to verify their eligibility, you can terminate them for cause.
A revised Form I-9 (version 10/21/2019) was issued on January 31, 2020. While you can still use the previous version until May 1, 2020 without penalty, we encourage you to begin using the new form now. The primary I-9 form and instruction changes include:
- Additional countries in the Country of Issuance field in Section 1
- Clarification on who can act as an authorized representative of an employer
- Clarification on acceptable documents
- New process for requesting paper forms
The I-9 has two sections: an employee section where the worker attests to their status; and an employer section where an authorized representative certifies that they have viewed the employee's documentation supporting their status, find the documents genuine to the best of their ability, and to the best of their knowledge believe the person is eligible to work in the United States. For detailed instructions on how to complete Form I-9, refer to Handbook for Employers M-274, which is produced by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services. This document covers every hiring scenario and the Q&A section is especially informative.
In addition to completing Form I-9, you can use E-Verify to confirm employment authorization of new hires.
Knowingly hiring or retaining unauthorized aliens and failure to comply with Form I-9 requirements can result in civil penalties for each worker. You should have all new hires complete an I-9; having only certain employees complete the form may be construed as discrimination. The anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits four types of unlawful conduct: unfair documentary practices during the Form I-9 and E-Verify process; citizenship or immigration status discrimination; national origin discrimination; and retaliation or intimidation.