Form I-9

What is Form I-9 and How to Stay Compliant with it?

Published On
July 16, 2024
Read Time
10 Minutes
Author
OnBlick Inc

For U.S. businesses, maintaining a compliant workforce is crucial. A key component of this is ensuring proper completion of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Non-compliance with Form I-9 can result in significant penalties. This makes staying up-to-date on the latest regulations essential.  

This blog post deals with the importance of Form I-9 in 2024, exploring its purpose and outlining steps to ensure compliance.

What is an I-9 Form?

The Form I-9, officially titled the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, is a mandatory document established by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. This form verifies the identity and legal authorization to work in the United States for all new hires.  It applies to all U.S. employers, regardless of company size, for any employee hired after November 6th, 1986.

Some employers might view Form I-9 completion as a time-consuming formality. However, it’s a legal requirement for maintaining a compliant workforce. Failure to properly complete and retain Form I-9 can result in significant penalties for employers.

Here are some key things to remember about Form I-9:

By understanding the importance and legal requirements of Form I-9, employers can ensure a smooth onboarding process and avoid potential penalties.

Who Completes Form I-9?

Form I-9 is a two-part document requiring completion by both the employer (or authorized representative) and the new hire.  Employees must attest to their identity and employment authorization by presenting acceptable documentation during the Form I-9 completion process.  The employer’s role is to verify these documents and sign the form, confirming completion.

Who is Exempt from Form I-9?

While U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) mandates Form I-9 for most employees, there are some exceptions. According to USCIS, an "employee" is someone performing work in exchange for pay or remuneration. Here are some common exemptions:

Note: It’s crucial to consult with legal counsel or USCIS resources for comprehensive guidance on Form I-9 completion and exemptions specific to your situation.

The Essential Sections of Form I-9

The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is a two-page document with specific sections designed to streamline the verification process. Here's a breakdown of each section and its purpose:

Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation  

This section is the foundation of Form I-9. New hires must complete it on their first day of employment. It requires them to provide personal details such as name, address, and date of birth.

They must confirm their citizenship status. This confirmation must be made under penalty of perjury. Acceptable statuses include U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, lawful permanent resident, or noncitizen authorized to work in the United States.

They will also need to present acceptable documentation to verify their identity and employment authorization during Section 2 verification.

Section 2: Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification  

The employer or their representative must fill out this section within three business days of the employee starting work. Please check the documents provided by the employee in Section 1.  

You can find a list of acceptable documents on the USCIS website for your reference. The employer must physically examine the documents and ensure they appear genuine and relate to the employee presenting them.

Supplement A: Preparer and/or Translator Certification for Section 1 (Optional)

This supplement is not required for all situations. It’s used if an individual assists the employee in completing or translating Section 1 of the form. The preparer or translator must then certify their role and qualifications in Supplement A.

Supplement B: Reverification and Rehires (formerly Section 3)

Supplement B is not used for every employee but serves specific purposes:

Obtaining and Retaining Form I-9

Obtaining Form I-9

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides the latest version of Form I-9 (published on 08/01/2023) free of charge on their website. It’s your responsibility as an employer to provide a copy to each new hire.

Form I-9 Retention

Proper retention of completed Forms I-9 is crucial. Employers must keep these forms for at least three years after hiring or one year after employment ends, whichever is later. This ensures you can present them upon request during a potential I-9 audit from USCIS.

Next Steps: Completing Form I-9 Effectively

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Form I-9, let’s delve into the details of proper completion for both employers and employees.

Section 1. Employee Information and Attestation

Employees must fill out and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 on their first day of work. However, they can complete it any time after accepting your job offer. Additionally, individuals can assist employees with completing Section 1, and their role will be documented in Supplement A.

Here’s a breakdown of what employees need to provide in Section 1:

Source: USCIS

Supplement A. Preparer and/or Translator Certification

If someone assists an employee in completing Section 1, they must complete Supplement A. This supplement requires the preparer or translator’s name, address, signature, and date. It’s crucial to retain completed Supplement A pages along with the employee’s Form I-9. The employee’s signature date in Section 1 should also match the preparer/translator’s signature date on Supplement A.

Source: USCIS

Key Points

Section 2. Employer Review and Attestation

As an employer, you (or your authorized representative) need to complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9. You must complete this within three business days of your employee’s first day of work. This ensures timely verification of their employment eligibility.

Employee Requirements for Section 2

Employees must present original, unexpired documents from the USCIS List of Acceptable Documents to verify their identity and employment authorization. They can choose to present:

In some cases, acceptable receipts for List A, B, or C documents may be presented.

Important Note: If you participate in the E-Verify program and the employee presents a combination of List B and C documents, the List B document must contain a photograph.  For more information, visit e-verify.gov

Employer’s Verification Process

Source: USCIS

Key Points

Authorized Representatives

You can designate an individual (employee exceptions apply) to complete, update, or correct Section 2 (or 3) of Form I-9 on your behalf. This authorized representative can be someone from your company (personnel officer, foreman) or an external agent. They must verify the employee’s completed Section 1 and documents (physically or remotely).

Important Notes

Supplement B. Reverification and Rehires (formerly Section 3)

Employers use Supplement B of Form I-9 for two main purposes:

Who Needs Reverification?

Not all employees require reverification.  U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, lawful permanent residents with a Green Card (Form I-551), and those presenting List B documents (identity only) generally don’t need it.

When to Complete Supplement B for Reverification

Employee’s authorization or documentation expires: Review both Section 1 (employee-provided expiration date) and Section 2 (document expiration date) to determine the earlier date for reverification.

Remind employees: Remind employees to provide new documentation for work authorization at least 90 days before it expires.

How to Complete Supplement B for Reverification

Rehiring Within Three Years

For rehires within three years of the original Form I-9 completion, you can either:

How to Complete Supplement B for Rehires

Source: USCIS

Key Points

Form I-9 Compliance Tips

Streamline I-9 Compliance and Avoid Costly Errors  

Managing Form I-9 can be a headache. Even minor mistakes can lead to hefty fines. OnBlick's I-9 Assist takes the stress out of the process. This electronic solution helps you and your employees fill out forms accurately and securely. It reduces errors and ensures that documents are stored correctly. But OnBlick goes beyond basic I-9 assistance. It offers:

Focus on your business and let OnBlick handle I-9 compliance. Book your free demo here.

Complete, Update and Retain Your Form I-9s Digitally

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