Download Form I-9:
Form I-9 (PDF)
Download Form I-9 in Spanish (Puerto Rico Only):
Form I-9 in Spanish (May be filled out by employers and employees in Puerto Rico only) (PDF)
Download Handbook for Employers:
About Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9
Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All United States employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States whether they are citizens and non-citizens. Both employees and employers must complete the form. An employee must attest to his or her employment authorization using this form. The employee must present his or her employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the eligibility and identity documents an employee presents to determine whether the documents reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of Form I-9. Employers must retain Form I-9 for either three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be made available for inspection by authorized government officers.
Please note: State agencies may use Form I-9. Also, some agricultural recruiters and referrers for a fee may be required to use Form I-9.
Edition Date: 03/08/13. No previous editions accepted.
To learn more about E-Verify click here:
Where to File
You do not file this form. You save it in your records. USCIS states that the you do not file Form I-9 with USCIS or U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Employers must have a completed Form I-9 on file for each person on their payroll who is required to complete the form. Form I-9 must be retained and stored by the employer either for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. The form must be available for inspection by authorized U.S. Government officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, or Department of Justice.
Note about the Spanish Version of Form I-9
The Spanish version of Form I-9 may be filled out by employers and employees in Puerto Rico ONLY. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states and other U.S. territories may print this for their reference, but may only complete the form in English to meet employment eligibility verification requirements.
Verify Employment Eligibility Online
Employers may voluntarily use the E-Verify system, accessible through http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify to verify employment eligibility online. Here are the basic steps to get going on E-Verify:
You must first enroll in the program and sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Once your new hire has completed his or her I-9, you logon to the secure DHS site given to you when you enrolled in the program. There you can input the employee’s name, date of birth and social security number.
The system will then either immediately report that the employee is authorized, that the DHS will work on confirming authorization, or ask the employee to contact either the DHS or SSA to clear up a potential issue.
If the employee is referred to either the DHS or SSA, those agencies will contact the employer within ten days to confirm whether or not the employee has been authorized or whether additional action is required.
Background Information Concerning Form I-9
The Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form. It is used by an employer to verify an employee’s identity and to establish that the worker is eligible to accept employment in the United States.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) required employers to verify that all newly hired employees present “facially valid” documentation verifying the employee’s identity and legal authorization to accept employment in the United States. The Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 Form) is provided by the government for that purpose. Every employee hired after November 6, 1986 must complete an I-9 form when they are hired. Employees must complete Section 1 of the form at the actual beginning of employment. The employer must complete Section 2 within three days of beginning their work. The employer is responsible for making sure that the forms are completed properly, and also in a timely manner. The I-9 Form is not required for unpaid volunteers or for contractors. However, a company could still find itself liable if it contracts work to a company knowing that the contractor employs unauthorized workers. On March 8, 2013, USCIS published a new I-9 Form. Use of earlier versions of the I-9 form are only acceptable until May 7, 2013. After May 7, 2013, all employers must use the revised I-9 Form. The revised I-9 form requires input from both the employee and employer (or an authorized representative of the employer). Although the new form is largely the same, several lay-out changes were made in order to make the form easier to read and more user-friendly.
If an employee cannot read or cannot write English, a translator or preparer should complete the form and sign it, in addition to the employee’s own signature.
In October 2004, new legislation made it possible to complete the I-9 electronically.
A variety of forms of identification are acceptable for I-9 purposes. The employee must supply either:
- One document that establishes both identity and employment eligibility (on List A on the I-9) OR
- One document that establishes identity (on List B), together with another document that establishes employment eligibility (on List C)
- All documentation must be unexpired as of April 3, 2009
Documents that may be used under “List A” of the I-9 form to establish both identity and employment eligibility include:
- Unexpired U.S. Passport
- U.S. Passport Card
- An unexpired foreign passport with an I-551 stamp, or with Form I-94 attached which indicates an unexpired employment authorization
- A Permanent Resident Card (often called a “green card”) or Alien Registration
- Receipt Card with photograph
- An Unexpired Temporary Resident Card
- An Unexpired Employment Authorization Card
- An Unexpired Employment Authorization Document issued by the Dept. of
- Homeland Security that includes a photograph (Form I-766)
Documents that may be used under “List B” of the I-9 to establish identity include:
- Driver’s license or I.D. card issued by a U.S. state or outlying possession of the
- U.S., provided it contains a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address.
- Federal or state I.D. card provided it contains a photograph or identifying information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color and address.
- School I.D. with photograph
- U.S. Armed Services identification card or draft record
- Voter Registration Card
- U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
- Native American tribal document
- Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
For individuals under the age of 18 only, the following documents may be used to establish identity:
- School record or report card
- Clinic, doctor or hospital record
- Day-care or nursery school record
Employees who supply an item from List B must also supply an item from List C
Documents that may be used under “List C” of the I-9 to establish employment eligibility include:
- A U.S. Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration (Note: cards that specify “not valid for employment” are not acceptable.)
- A birth certificate issued by the U.S. State Department (Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350) Original or certified copy of a birth certificate from the U.S. or an outlying possession of the U.S., bearing an official seal
- A Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)
- A Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
- Native American tribal document
- U.S. Citizen I.D. Card (Form I-197)
- An I.D. Card for the use of a Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179)
- An unexpired employment authorization card issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security (other than those included on List A)
U.S. citizens who have lost their social security card can apply for a duplicate at the Social Security Administration.
Employers must update or reverify certain ID documents at or prior to their expiration date. This does not apply to already presented and accepted non-expired US Passports or Permanent Resident Cards when they reach their expiration date, nor to any List B documents, for example, state driver’s licenses and state ID’s. The USCIS website, in the Employer section, Employer Bulletins, lists the limited requirements and allowed instances for reverification.
U.S. citizens: I-9’s are valid continuously unless a break of more than a year of employment occurs. International employees on F-1 (student), H-1B (specialty occupation), or J-1 (exchange visitor) visas must have their I-9 reverified each time their visa has expired with a new work authorization permit (renewed visa with work authorization, EAD, Permanent Residence Card, etc..).
Employers must retain a Form I-9 for all current employees. Employers must also retain a Form I-9 for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act which introduced the requirement leading to the promulgation of the I-9 form, also included anti-discrimination provisions. Under the Act, most US citizens, permanent residents, temporary residents or asylee/refugee who are legally allowed to work in the US cannot be discriminated against on the basis of national origin or citizenship status. This provision applies to employers of three or more workers and covers both hiring and termination decisions. In addition, an employer must accept any valid document or combination of documents specified in the I-9 form, as long as the documents appear genuine.
For example, an employer could not refuse to hire a candidate because his I-9 revealed that he was a non-citizen (such as a permanent resident or a refugee) rather than a U.S. citizen. For this reason some immigration lawyers advise companies to avoid requiring an I-9 until a candidate is hired rather than risk a lawsuit. As another example, a company could not insist that an employee provide a passport rather than, say, a driver’s license and social security card.
Another anti-discrimination provision requires that employers must enforce I-9 compliance in a uniform manner. For example, an employer must not require some employees to complete an I-9 before being hired, but allow others to complete the form after starting employment.
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) is a section within the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division that enforces the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The OSC can help workers by calling employers and explaining proper verification practices and, when necessary, by providing victims of discrimination with charge forms. Upon receipt of a charge of discrimination, OSC investigations typically take no longer than 7 months. Victims may obtain various types of relief, including job relief and back pay.
OSC also has an extensive outreach program. It provides staff to speak at outreach events throughout the country, and has free informational brochures, posters and tapes for distribution.
Types of Discrimination
The OSC investigates the following types of discriminatory conduct under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324b:
Citizenship or immigration status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee by employers with four or more employees. Employers may not treat individuals differently because they are, or are not, U.S. citizens or work authorized individuals. U.S. citizens, recent permanent residents, temporary residents, asylees and refugees are protected from citizenship status discrimination. Exceptions: permanent residents who do not apply for naturalization within six months of eligibility are not protected from citizenship status discrimination. Citizenship status discrimination which is otherwise required to comply with law, regulation, executive order, or government contract is permissible by law.
National origin discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee, by employers with more than three and fewer than 15 employees. Employers may not treat individuals differently because of their place of birth, country of origin, ancestry, native language, accent, or because they are perceived as looking or sounding “foreign.” All U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and work authorized individuals are protected from national origin discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has jurisdiction over employers with 15 or more employees.
Unfair documentary practices related to verifying the employment eligibility of employees. Employers may not request more or different documents than are required to verify employment eligibility, reject reasonably genuine-looking documents, or specify certain documents over others with the purpose or intent of discriminating on the basis of citizenship status or national origin. U.S. citizens and all work authorized individuals are protected from document abuse.
Retaliation. Individuals who file charges with OSC, who cooperate with an OSC investigation, who contest action that may constitute unfair documentary practices or discrimination based upon citizenship or immigration status, or national origin, or who assert their rights under the INA’s anti-discrimination provision are protected from retaliation.
The IRCA includes penalties for I-9 noncompliance. According to the I-9 form, “federal law provides for imprisonment and/or fines for false statements or use of false documents in connection with the completion of this form.” An employer who hires an unauthorized worker can be fined between $250 and $5,500 per worker. In addition, such an employer can be barred from federal government contracts for a year. An employee who knowingly accepts fraudulent documentation can also be criminally prosecuted under other immigration laws.
An employer who fails to keep proper records that I-9s are properly filed can be fined $110 per missing item for each form, up to $1100 per form, even if the employee is legally authorized to work in the US. Since 2009, Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) has conducted over 7,500 audits and imposed over $80 million in fines. In 2011 alone, ICE conducted 2,740 audits and assessed over $7 million in fines.
An individual who knowingly commits or participates in document fraud may be fined between $375 and $3,200 per document for the first offense, and between $3,200 and $6,500 per document for subsequent offenses.
History of Employment Eligibility Verification
In 1986 Congress passed The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) which prohibits employers from knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens and hiring individuals without completing the employment eligibility verification process. This Act led to creation of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. All employers must use Form I-9 for all employees hired on or after Nov. 6, 1986, who are working in the United States. This Act also established prohibitions against national origin and citizenship or immigration status discrimination with respect to hiring, firing and recruitment or referral for a fee.
The Immigration Act of 1990 established the INA’s document abuse prohibition, which prohibits discriminatory documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process.
On September 30th, 1996 the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) removed documents from the statutory list of documents acceptable for Form I-9 and required that any additional documents added to List A documents must contain security features. This led to an interim rule published in the Federal Register in 1997 (64 Fed. Reg. 6187) removing several documents from List A and expanding the receipt rule. This act also created pilot program for employment eligibility confirmation. E-Verify is based on one of these pilot programs (the Basic Pilot).
A Video About Form I-9