Form I-9, officially the Employability Verification, is a form issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, it is used to verify the identity and legal work permit of all salaried workers in the United States. All US employers must ensure that Form I-9 is properly completed for each person they hire for US employment.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) required employers to verify that all newly hired workers presented valid documentation proving the worker’s identity and legal authorization to accept employment in the United States. The I-9 Form, or rather the Employability Verification Form, is provided by the federal government for this purpose.
Any employee hired after November 6, 1986 must complete an I-9 form at the time of hire. Employees must complete Section 1 of the form when they begin work. The employer must complete Section 2 within three days of the employee starting work. The employer is responsible for filling out the forms correctly and in a timely manner.
The I-9 verification services is not required for unpaid volunteers or contractors. However, a company could still be held liable if it subcontracts work to a contractor it knows is or employs unauthorized personnel.
Since the form’s inception in 1987, several versions of the Form I-9 (Employability Verification) have been issued. Not all versions are valid for use. To determine if you are using the correct version of Form I-9, check the revision date in the lower left corner of the form, rather than the expiration date at the top of the form.
Currently only the forms with the following revision date are valid:
- 17.07.2017 N *
If an employee cannot read or write in English, a translator or creator can fill out the form and sign it on behalf of the employee. The form also requires the employee’s own signature.
In October 2004, new legislation allowed electronic completion of the I-9.
Table of Contents
Requirements for employees
By completing Form I-9, prospective employees certify, under penalty of perjury, that they belong to one of the following categories:
- A US citizen,
- A US citizen,
- A lawful permanent resident or
- An alien authorized to work.
Documentation for proof of identity or work permit
With the form, potential employees must submit documents proving their ability to work. A variety of documents is acceptable. The prospective employee must provide either:
- A document establishing both identity and employability (on List A on the I-9)
- A document establishing identity (on List B) together with another document establishing employability (on List C).
- All documents do not have to be expired
Documents that may be used under “List A” of the I-9 form to establish both identity and employability include:
- An unexpired US passport,
- A US passport card,
- A Permanent Resident Card (often referred to as a “Green Card “) or Alien Registration Receipt Card with photo
- An unexpired temporary residence card,
- An unexpired foreign passport with an I-551 stamp or Form I-94 (For certain aliens who are eligible to work with restrictions. The individual should also attach the documents showing an unexpired work permit.)
- An unexpired work permit document issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security containing a photograph (Form I-766), or
- An unexpired work permit card.
Documents that may be used under I-9 “List B” to establish identity include:
- Driver’s license or ID card issued by a U.S. state or outside of U.S. possession, provided it includes a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address;
- Federal or state ID card, provided it includes a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address;
- School ID card with photo;
- US Forces Identification Card or Draft Protocol;
- voter registration card;
- US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card;
- Native American tribal document;
- Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government agency or
- Trustworthy travel documentation (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI).
For persons under the age of eighteen, the following documents can be used to establish identity:
- School certificate or certificate;
- Clinic, doctor or hospital file or
- Daycare or kindergarten record.
Employees supplying a List B item (to establish identity) must also supply a List C item (to establish eligibility for employment).
Documents that may be used under I-9 “Schedule C” to determine employability include:
A U.S. Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration, unless one of the following is provided:
- Not valid for employment (usually issued to non-immigrant aliens who are not eligible to work)
- Valid only for works with ins authorization
- Valid for work with dhs authorization only,
- A birth certificate issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350),
- Original or certified copy of a U.S. birth certificate or remote U.S. possession with an official seal,
- A certificate of US citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561),
- Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570),
- Native American Tribal Document,
- US citizenship card (Form I-197),
- An ID card for use by a US resident (Form I-179),
- An unexpired work permit card issued by the Department of Homeland Security (other than those listed on List A), or
- Consular Birth Report Abroad (Form FS-240).
- US citizens who have lost their Social Security card may apply to the Social Security Administration for a duplicate.
Employees supplying a List C item (to determine employability) must also supply a List B item (to determine identity).