All employers, including small business owners, must verify the employment eligibility and identity of any worker hired in the U.S. To comply with the law, you must complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form for all new hires within three business days of their start date. In a small business, an I-9 must be completed for all workers except:
- Those hired prior to November 7, 1986 and still in your employ.
- Those providing services as an independent contractor.
- Those providing services under a contract, subcontract or exchange.
Get the formYou'll need an I-9 form for each employee you hire, so have a supply of copies (both front and the back) of the form available in your office for easy retrieval.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You'll need the latest version of Adobe Reader to download the pdf file.
Know when the form is necessaryAn I-9 must be completed for every person your business hires to perform labor or services in return for wages or remuneration (including food and lodging).
Employer Information page.
Review required employee documentsYou aren't expected to be an expert in detecting false documents. If a document looks reasonably genuine, you can accept it as so. If a document doesn't look genuine, you can contact a local U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office for assistance. Photocopies of documents are not acceptable as proof of identity or eligibility.
Handbook for Employers (Form M-274). For questionable documents, contact an ICE office.
Complete the formNew employees fill out Section 1 of the form when they are hired. Employers complete Section 2 within three business days. In Section 2, you'll need to write down the reviewed document title, issuing authority, document number, expiration date (if any) and the date employment begins.
Keep the formI-9 forms must be kept for three years after the employee's start date or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later. Forms can be stored electronically.
electronic storage at the ICE website or purchase software, such as i9Check, which allows you to take advantage of electronic signatures and storage.
Use an all-in-one I-9 solutionWeb-based services can help you easily manage your I-9 compliance responsibilities.
- If an employee is eligible to work but can't produce the proper documentation, you can accept a receipt from an application for the documentation. The actual documents must be received within 90 days.
- If you fill out the I-9 form properly and later learn that the employee wasn't in fact eligible to work in the U.S., you can't be charged with a verification violation.
- You have the right to terminate an employee if they can't produce the proper documentation or a receipt for application for the documentation within three business days.
- If Section 1 is prepared by someone other than the employee, the Preparer and/or Translator certification section just below Section 1 must also be completed.
- It's illegal to discriminate against individuals who are eligible to work in the U.S.