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I-9 Forms: An Update in Compliance

February 01, 2017 | Leave a Comment

The I-9 is a federal Employment Eligibility Verification Form established in 1986, used to ensure all employees are legally authorized to work in the United States.

All businesses must have an I-9 for all current employees. However, as with any rule, there are a few exceptions.

Who doesn’t need an I-9? 

  • Any employee hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986, who is still currently employed
  • Employees for casual domestic work in a private home (e.g., babysitters, kid who mows the lawn)
  • Independent contractors
  • Anyone not working on U.S. soil
  • Anyone providing labor who’s actually employed by a contract service (e.g., temp agency or employee leasing)

When to fill out the I-9?

Employers MAY NOT begin the I-9 process until the employee has accepted the job. If you send out documents to new hires before their first day, including emergency contact forms or training materials and policy information, you can include the I-9. Keep in mind that newly hired employees must complete and sign Section 1 of the I-9 form no later than their first day.

Who enforces the I-9?

Three federal agencies enforce the I-9: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Customs & Boarder Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). Failing to comply with I-9 verification requirements can be as much as $1,500 for each violation. A business with 50 employees could owe $75,000 in fines for not be in compliance. Click here for more information on the penalties of failing to comply with immigration law.

Tips for Auditing I-9s at Your Business

All employers should be using the updated I-9 form released in November 2016. We recommend keeping all I-9s in one place instead of in the individual employee personnel files. This way you can easily sort them and reference them when necessary.

If you go through our I-9 file and notice some information is out of date or missing, take the time to update the files. You can make edits to the information on the form by crossing out information and writing today’s date next to the edits (this is why the updated I-9 form has additional space for you to make changes).

To protect yourself and your business, it’s better to have something that shows you tried in good faith to update information.

For more information on the I-9 and a walk-through of how to fill out the new form, please click here to watch a webinar on the topic hosted by our Director of TotalHR, Bethany Holliday, PHR, SHRM-CP.

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