Employment Eligibility Verification Form – I-9 – What You Need to Know

The Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9) is distributed by the US Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). What you need to know is that every employer needs to have one for every employee and every employee needs to have the correct documentation and be prepared to fill it out. Form I-9 is a critical federal document that ensures employers are hiring individuals legal to work within the United States.

Employers need to note that they will need to fill out I-9s for current employees as well, not just new hires, and it states that the document needs to be on hand for all employees hired after November 6, 1986. The form must be kept for three years after the date of hire or one year after termination, whichever is later. It does not need to be submitted to the government at the time of hiring, but must be made available for inspection by authorized officials of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, and the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices .

Employees need to refer to the List of Acceptable Documents for the correct documents to present to their new employers. If you are an employee, be sure bring in one unexpired document from List A (Documents that Establish Both Identity and Employment Authorization) OR one document from List B (Documents that Establish Identity) AND List C (Documents that Establish Employment Authorization). You do not want to show up to your first day of work unprepared!

The latest form was revised 08/07/09 and will expire 08/31/12. Employers need to be sure to use the latest form for new hires although the USCIS does authorize the use of the form revision 2/02/09. To check that you are using the right form look for the revision dates in the bottom right corner of the page. You can find the form in both English and Spanish on the USCIS website and more detailed information is available in the USCIS Handbook for Employers (Form M-274).

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