Completing the I-9 Form

Picture of the I-9 form

What is the I-9 Form?

The I-9 form, also known as the Employment Eligibility Verification form, must be completed by all employees, citizens and non-citizens, working for a company within the United States. The purpose of the form is to verify both your identity and employment authorization to work in the United States.

When do I need to complete the I-9 form?

Your employer should ask you to complete the form upon hire. The form should be submitted within 3 days of your hire date. If you are asked to complete the form even though you have been working for the company for years, you must do so. Your company may be audited and have either forgotten to provide the I-9 forms in the past or need to update their HR files.

Where do I get a copy of the I-9 form?

Your employer should provide you with a copy of the I-9 form on your date of hire. If you would like to review the form prior to your hire date, click here. If you would like to review a form that you have completed in the past, you must request it from your HR department. Your HR department is required to keep a copy of your I-9 form in your personnel file.

Why do I need to complete the I-9 form?

Completion of the I-9 form is required by the United States government for all citizens and non-citizens. If you refuse to complete the I-9 form, your employer may have the right to terminate your employment.

How do I complete the I-9 form?

The I-9 form is divided into 2 sections, the employee section and the employer section. You are to only complete the employee section. The first part of the form asks for basic information: name, address, email address, telephone number and social security number. Even if you are a non-citizen, if you are authorized to work in the United States, the government should have provided you with a social security number.

The second part will ask about your citizenship: citizen, non-citizen national of the United States, a lawful permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work in the United States. If you are an alien authorized to work in the United States, you will be required to give your work expiration date, if applicable, and one of the following: alien registration number, form I-94 admission number, or your foreign passport number.

You must sign and date the form. If you have a preparer complete the form for you or if you used a translator, he or she must also sign and date the form and provide his or her basic information.

What documents do I need to show as proof of identity and authorization to work in the United States?

The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides a list of acceptable documents – click here. The list is divided into 3 categories, A, B and C.  You can show your employer one document from list A.  If you do not have any documents from list A, you will have to provide at least 2 documents, one from column B and one from column C.

The words and other content provided in the blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as professional advice (please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information).

Alicia H. Lillegard, Esq.

Alicia Lillegard has over 20 years of experience in employment law, human resources and insurance, working with with large blue chip companies, startups, and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Lillegard is currently Managing Director of New England Human Capital, a human resources consultancy which advises small and midsize businesses on Human Resources compliance, including employment procedures, employee relations and employee benefits. She holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago and John Marshall Law School.

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