All employers must complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person they hire for employment after Nov. 6, 1986, in the U.S. as long as the person works for pay or other type of payment. The standard Form I-9 must be used for employees hired on or after Nov. 28, 2011.
Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification consists of three sections:
- Section One: Employee Information and Attestation
Completed by employees
- Section Two: Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification
Completed by employers
- Section Three: Reverification and Rehires
Completed by employers for employees who are rehired or whose employment authorization requires reverification.
You are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for every employee you hire for employment in the United States, except for:
- Individuals hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986, who are continuing in their employment and have a reasonable expectation of employment at all times. (Some limitations to this exception apply.) Also excepted are individuals hired for employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on or before Nov. 27, 2009.
- Individuals employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular or intermittent basis.
- Independent contractors or individuals providing labor to you if they are employed by a contractor providing contract services (for example, employee leasing or temporary agencies).
- Individuals not physically working in the U.S.
Federal law prohibits individuals or businesses from contracting with an independent contractor knowing that the independent contractor is not authorized to work in the U.S.
Hired On or Before Nov. 6, 1986
If you hired your employee on or before Nov. 6, 1986, and still employ that person, you are generally not required to complete Form I-9 for that employee. For employers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Form I-9 is not required for employees hired for employment in the CNMI on or before Nov. 27, 2009 and who continue in their employment with the same employer after that date.
If your company merges with another company, you may need to complete Form I-9 for an employee of the newly acquired company who was originally hired on or before Nov. 6,1986.
Casual Domestic Services
“Casual domestic services” refers to individuals (such as a handyman, babysitter or cleaning person) paid by you to help in or around your private home, provided the services are:
- Sporadic, meaning they occur occasionally, singly or in random instances;
- Irregular, meaning the occurrence or activity lacks continuity or regularity; or
- Intermittent, meaning they do not occur continuously but instead comes and goes at intervals.
Form I-9 is not required for casual domestic services.
An independent contractor is not considered an employee for Form I-9 purposes and does not need to complete Form I-9. Independent contractors includes individuals or entities who carry on independent business, contract to do a project according to their own means and methods, and are subject to control only to the results of the work and not what and how it will be done. Many factors are considered when determining whether or not an individual or entity is an independent contractor.
Independent contractors are individuals or entities that may:
- Contract to do a job according to their own means and methods.
- Supply their own tools or materials.
- Offer their services to the general public.
- Work for a number of clients at the same time.
- Have an opportunity for profit or loss as a result of labor or services provided.
- Invest in facilities to do all or part of the work.
- Direct the order in which the work is to be done.
- Determine the hours during which the work is to be done.
- Are subject to control only as to results, not what and how the work will be done.
The individual or business that is contracting with the independent contractor is not required to complete Form I-9 for the contractor. Remember, however, that federal law prohibits individuals or businesses from contracting with an independent contractor knowing that the independent contractor is not authorized to work in the U.S.
Temporary or Staffing Agencies
In most cases, if your company uses a temporary or staffing agency to obtain workers, those workers are employees of that agency and provide services to your company as independent contractors. The agency completes Form I-9 for each worker they provide to your company, because the workers are considered employees of the agency, not of your company.
An agency may complete Form I-9 before one of its workers accepts a particular assignment, even if:
- The worker has not yet been offered or accepted an actual assignment.
- There is the possibility that no actual work may arise from the arrangement.
Completing Section 1, Employee Information and Attestation
When completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, you, as the employer, must make the complete instructions to the form and the Lists of Acceptable Documents available to newly hired employees. Your employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than their first day of employment.
You may have your employees complete Form I-9:
- On their first day of employment (the actual commencement of employment of an employee for wages or other remuneration, referred to as date of hire in the Department of Homeland Security regulations); or
- Before their first day of employment, if they accepted your job offer
Preparers and translators can help employees complete Section 1.
Employee Responsibilities for Section 1
- Full legal name;
- Employees with two last names (family names) should enter both names. Employees with two first names (given names) should enter both names.
- Employees with only one name should enter it in the Last Name field, then enter “Unknown” in the First Name field.
- Employees should include the hyphen (-) or apostrophe (’) if their names have them.
- Employees with a middle name should enter the middle initial.
- Other legal last names used, including a maiden name, if applicable. Current address, including street name and number city, state, and ZIP code. Include the apartment number or letter if applicable;
- Date of birth;
- Citizenship or immigration status, by checking the appropriate box to indicate whether they are a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national, a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., or an alien authorized to work in the U.S.;
- If applicable, Alien Number/USCIS Number, Form I-94 admission number, or foreign passport number (including country of issuance), and the date employment authorization expires; and
- Signature and the date.
Additionally, employees may provide their:
- Social Security number (Exception: Employees must provide their Social Security number if you participate in E-Verify);
- E-mail address (employees may receive email notifications from USCIS if you participate in E-Verify); and
- Telephone number.
Employees must sign the form even if a preparer or translator helps them. Preparers or translators who help your employee must provide their name and address and must sign and date the certification on the form. If more than one preparer or translator helps the employee complete Section 1 of Form I-9, you may use Form I-9 Supplement, Section 1 Preparer and/or Translator Certification, to document each preparer and/or translator.
If more than one preparer and/or translator helps the employee complete the form using a computer, the preparer should select the number of certification areas needed from the dropdown provided. Any additional certification areas generated will result in an additional page.
Each preparer or translator must complete, sign and date a separate certification area. You must retain completed supplement sheets with the employee’s completed Form I-9.
The date your employee enters next to his or her signature should match the date the preparer/translator signed the form.
If the employee did not use a preparer and/or translator, the employee must check the box marked “I did not use a Preparer or Translator.”
Employer Responsibilities for Section 1
You must review the information your employees provided to ensure:
- They completed all required fields;
- They provided their Social Security numbers if you participate in E-Verify. (If you do not participate in E-Verify, employees are not required to enter their Social Security number.);
- Your employees signed and dated their forms; and
- The preparer or translator completed, signed, and dated the Preparer/Translator section if the employee used a preparer or translator.
You should also:
- Check whether your employees indicated in Section 1 that their employment authorization will expire.
- You may need to reverify your employee’s employment authorization when it expires. You may remind them at least 90 days before the expiration date that they will need to present a List A or List C document to show continued employment authorization for reverification purposes. They must present these documents on or before the date their current employment authorization expires.
- Check whether the expiration date for employment authorization your employee provided in Section 1 matches the expiration date of the List A or List C document they presented for Section 2, Employer Review and Attestation. Use the earlier date for reverification purposes.
Completing Section 2, Employer Review and Attestation
Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, within 3 business days of the date of hire of their employee (the hire date means the first day of work for pay). For example, if your employee began work for pay on Monday, you must complete Section 2 by Thursday of that week. If the job lasts less than 3 days, you must complete Section 2 no later than the first day of work for pay.
Employee Responsibilities for Section 2
Employees must present unexpired original documentation that shows the employer their identity and employment authorization. Your employees choose which documentation to present.
Employees must present:
- List A contains documents that show both identity and employment authorization
- List B documents only show identity only
- List C documents only show employment authorization only
In certain circumstances, your employee may present an acceptable receipt in place of a List A, B, or C document. Receipts only temporarily satisfy the document presentation requirement for Section 2. If you participate in E-Verify, you may only accept List B documents that contain a photo.
Employer Responsibilities for Section 2
An employer or an authorized representative of the employer completes Section 2. Employers or their authorized representatives must physically examine the documentation presented by the employee and sign the form.
The employer or authorized representative must:
- Enter the employee’s last name, first name, middle initial and select the correct citizenship/immigration number in the “Employee Info from Section 1” area at the top of Section 2.
- Ensure that any document your employee presents is original and on the Lists of Acceptable Documents or is an acceptable receipt.
- Physically examine each document to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to your employee presenting it. If you determine the document does not reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to your employee, allow your employee to present other documentation from the Lists of Acceptable Documents.
- Enter your employee’s Last Name, First Name and Middle Initial (if provided) from Section 1.
- Enter the document title, issuing authority, number(s) and expiration date (if any) from the original document(s) your employee presented.
- Enter the date your employee began or will begin work for pay.
- Enter the first and last name, signature and title of the person completing Section 2, as well as the date he or she completed Section 2.
- Enter the employer’s business name and address. If your company has multiple locations, use the most appropriate address that identifies the location of the employer with respect to the employee and his or her Form I-9 completion (for example, the address where Form I-9 is completed).
- Return the documentation presented back to your employee.
Entering Dates in Section 2
Section 2 includes two spaces that require dates. These spaces are for:
- Your employee’s first day of employment ( “date of hire” which means the commencement of employment of an employee for wages or other remuneration).
- The date you examined the documentation your employee presented to show identity and employment authorization.
The Date the Employee Began Employment
The date your employee began employment may be a current, past or future date. You should enter:
- A current date
- If Section 2 is completed the same day your employee begins employment for wages or other remuneration.
- A past date
- If Section 2 is completed after your employee began employment for wages or other remuneration. Enter the actual date your employee began employment for wages or other remuneration.
- A future date
- If Section 2 is completed after the employee accepts the job offer but before he or she will begin employment for wages or other remuneration, enter the date the employee expects to begin such employment. If the employee begins employment on a different date, cross out the expected start date and write in the correct start date. Date and initial the correction.
Federal contractors completing Form I-9 for existing employees as a result of an award of a federal contract with the FAR E-Verify clause (PDF):
- Enter the date their employees first began employment for wages or other remuneration from Section 2 of their previously completed Form I-9.
The Date the Employer Examined the Employee’s Documents
This date is the actual date you complete Section 2 by examining the documentation your employee presents and signing the certification.
As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your tax situation please feel free to contact us.