The I-9 Form is issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and is used to verify the identity of an employee as well as their eligibility to work in the United States. All employers should require completion of the I-9 Form—even if the employee is a U.S. citizen.
Immigration enforcement is a priority of the current federal administration, so it is expected that I-9 investigations will increase over the next few years. That makes a thorough understanding of these forms—and how to complete them correctly— important to ensure your business is federally compliant.
Due to recent changes, these forms have been raising lots of new questions with employers. Becki Young, an attorney with Hammond Young in Silver Spring, Maryland recently answered many of these questions at the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference. Below are a few key takeaways about I-9 compliance from her Q+A session.
- If an employee has a name change, or an employee changes both name and gender, you are not required to submit a new I-9. However, you still can if you choose.
- Any verification documents you’ve collected from an employee that were not recorded as part of the I-9 Form should be shredded. But you should keep a memo in the file that shows which documents were collected from an individual, and whether they were used or not.
- Using E-Verify is the recommended way to file an I-9 Form for most businesses.
- You should probably avoid storing I-9s electronically, as there is an extremely complicated set of rules for doing so. Use a reputable vendor instead.
- At the end of the required retention period for I-9s, shred the documents.
- Employees may complete an I-9 Form as soon as they have officially been offered a job.
- An expired driver’s license with a receipt for an extension is not valid to use with an I-9 Form. Neither is a Social Security card that says “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization.”
- The new field in Section 2 that asks for “Citizenship/Immigration Status” should be completed as follows:
- Add a 1 for a citizen of the United States
- Add a 2 for a noncitizen national of the United States
- Add a 3 for a lawful permanent resident
- Add a 4 for an alien authorized to work in the United States
I-9 Form compliance can be a tricky subject—especially with the new changes—but it’s an important document that needs to be completed and filed correctly to avoid potential fines and penalties. If you have any questions about I-9 Form compliance, our team at Axiom can help. Contact us today to find out how.