The I-9 form is of common use to the human resources professional, and although it may seem deceivingly simple, it is easy to improperly complete the form resulting in a violation to the employer. This article provides simple tips to ensure proper and thorough completion of the I-9 form.

Use The Current I-9 Form

Make sure to use the current form I-9. As of the writing of this article, the newest form issued to-date was issued on 07/17/2017. It is mandatory to use this edition of the form for all new hires, rehires, and reverifications after September 18, 2017. There is no need to complete a new form for an employee if a properly completed form is on file.

Incomplete forms are the most common violation. Please refer to the I-9 completion form which is highlighted with information that should or must be completed.

I-9 Completion Timing

The latest the employee may complete his or her portion of the I-9 on Section 1 is at the end of the first day when the employee started work for pay. The latest the employer may complete its portion of the I-9 is on the third business day after the employee started work for pay.

Completion Requirements

Section 1 of the I-9 must be completed by the employee. The employee must provide a social security number if the employer uses E-Verify. Email address and telephone number blocks are optional. The employee must select one of the four categories and provide the additional information for the respective options. The employee must sign and date the signature block. The preparer/translator certification is required when Section 1 is prepared by someone other than the employee. By signing, the preparer is attesting that Section 1 is true and correct to the best of his or her knowledge. The employer must verify Section 1 is complete prior to filling out Section 2.

Again, Section 2 must be completed no later than 3 business days after the employee begins work for pay. The employer must examine original documents. All documents must be unexpired. The employer must sign and date the form and fill in all blanks.

I-9 Reverification

For reverification purposes, the employer must complete all blocks. If the temporary employment authorization has expired, the employee must be reverified in Section 3 of the original form or on a new Form I-9. An employer may complete Section 3 or use a new form if the employee is rehired within 3 years of the original hire date or the employer is updating the biographic information of an employee. USCIS recommends completing a new Form I-9 for rehires.

I-9 Retention Requirements

Form I-9s must be retained for 3 years after the date of hire or one year after the date the employee terminates employment, whichever is later.

Correcting I-9 Mistakes

If a mistake is discovered on Form I-9, correct the existing Form I-9 or prepare a new Form I-9. If you choose to correct the existing Form I-9, line out the incorrect portions, enter the correct information, and initial and date the correction. If you complete a new Form I-9, retain the old form. You should also attach a short memo to both the new and old forms stating the reason for your action.

If You Are Missing An Employee’s I-9

If it is discovered that the Form I-9 is missing for an employee, immediately provide the employee with a Form I-9, allow the employee 3 business days to provide acceptable documents, and do not backdate the form.

This Is Just A Summary

This guide summarizes many of the requirements of the Form I-9 but is not all inclusive. For further assistance, please call Dana Rifai at Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP.