Form I-9 FAQs
Form I-9 FAQs

The Ultimate I-9 Form FAQ: Get All Your Questions Answered Here

Noel Diem |

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of the I-9 Form? Fret not, as we’ve got you covered with this ultimate FAQ guide!

Navigating documentation, forms, and changing regulations is a small part of onboarding. Yet, filling out an I-9 form incorrectly can have a BIG impact. We have a Complete Guide for Form 1-9 here, but in this blog, we’re just hitting on the FAQs.

What is the I-9 form?

The I-9 Form is a crucial document required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It verifies the identity and employment authorization of those hired for work in the US.

Furthermore, the form ensures that employees are eligible to work. This form isn’t another piece of paperwork. It helps uphold immigration laws and promotes fair labor practices.

By completing the I-9 Form, employers prove compliance with federal regulations. It’s also a sign to their workers that they want to maintain a legal workforce. Failure to follow I-9 Form regulations can result in serious consequences for employers.

Often, this will include fines and penalties.

Understanding the purpose and requirements of this form is essential. It’s a form that touches all businesses, regardless of size or industry.

Need more help understanding the I-9 form? Check out our blog here!

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Who needs to fill out the I-9 Form?

Wondering who’s responsible for filling out the I-9 Form? It’s essential for both employers and employees to understand this.

Employers must do two things:

  1. Provide the form to new hires;
  2. Ensure completion within three days of starting work.

Employees need to fill out Section 1. They’ll provide personal information like their name, address, birthdate, and citizenship.

There are no exceptions. Even if you’re a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status, you’re still required to complete the I-9 Form. Non-citizens authorized to work in the country must also fill out this form when starting a new job.

Remember: Accuracy is key when completing the document. Any errors or omissions could lead to penalties for both parties.

Interested in learning more about form I-9 compliance?

Understanding the sections of the I-9 form

When filling out the I-9 Form, it’s crucial to understand its different sections.
The form is divided into three parts.

Section 1 (completed by the employee). Employees provide personal information and attest to their employment authorization status. It’s essential that employers ensure accurate completion of this section.

Section 2 (for the employer). Verify the employee’s identity and work eligibility by examining original documents. It’s important to follow guidelines for acceptable documents to avoid errors. Any mistakes in this section can lead to compliance issues.

Section 3 (for re-verification of work authorization or updating changes in employment status). Employers need to stay up-to-date with any revisions made by USCIS on this section.

Commonly Asked Questions about the I-9 Form

What is e-Verify?

E-Verify is a web-based system. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) runs it with the Social Security Administration (SSA). It’s a free tool employers use to confirm employment eligibility.

Here’s how E-Verify works:

  1. Employer creates a case. The employer creates a case in E-Verify. They do this by entering information from the employee’s Form I-9. This includes the employee’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number.
  2. Electronic Verification. E-Verify then compares the employer’s entry to records from DHS and SSA.
  3. Verification Results. The employer receives a response within a few seconds. They will get one of the following results:
    1. Employment Authorized. The information entered matches records available to DHS and/or SSA, and the employe may work in the United States.
    2. Tentative Nonconfirmation (Mismatched Information). There’s a mismatch between the information entered by the employer and the government records. In this case, the employee has an opportunity to resolve the issue with DHS and SSA.

Important things to know about E-Verify:

  • E-Verify is not mandatory for most employers. But, it is mandatory for some federal contractors and some employers in certain states. For most businesses, though, it’s voluntary.
  • E-Verify doesn’t reveal details. It only shows if a person is employment authorized (a match) or has a tentative nonconfirmation (a mismatch). It does not say where the employee is from. It also does not say what documents they showed.
  • Dispute Resolution. If an employee gets a tentative nonconfirmation through E-Verify, they can contest the results. They can also give more documentation to DHS and SSA.

Benefits of Using E-Verify:

  • E-Verify helps employers comply with immigration laws. It also reduces the risk of hiring unauthorized workers. Hiring them can lead to fines and penalties.
  • E-Verify provides faster verification. It is more efficient than manual methods.
  • Peace of Mind: E-Verify can give employers peace of mind knowing they are employing a workforce that is authorized to work in the United States.

Here are some resources for more information about E-Verify:

What documents are acceptable for proof of identity and employment authorization?

Provide documents that establish your identity and authorization to work.

Acceptable forms of identification include:
  • A U.S. passport
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Foreign passport with an appropriate work visa
For proof of employment authorization, you can use:
  • A Social Security card
  • Employment Authorization Document

Employers should not request certain documents from employees. The choice is up to the individual as long as they meet the form’s requirements. Employees should have the valid and current documents ready when filling out the I-9 Form. This will speed up the process and avoid job start delays.

What is the 3 day rule for I-9?

The 3-day rule refers to the timeframe within which employers must complete Section 2 of Form I-9. This applies to the employer or their authorized representative.

Here’s a breakdown of the 3-day rule:

  • Employee’s Responsibility: Within the first three business days of starting work for pay, the employee must present original and acceptable documents that establish their identity and employment authorization (Section 1 of Form I-9).
  • Employer’s Responsibility: After the employee completes Section 1, the employer has three business days to examine the documents and complete Section 2, which verifies the information.

There’s an exception to the three-day rule:

Employees working less than 3 days must complete both Section 1 and Section 2 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of work for pay if they are hired for less than three business days.

What if I-9 is not completed in 3 days?

There are consequences if the I-9 form is not completed within the 3-day window.

For Employers:

  • Fines: The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can impose civil fines. The fines can vary. They depend on the violation’s severity and range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per form.
  • Verification Issues: An incomplete I-9 form can delay or prevent the employer from verifying an employee’s employment eligibility through E-Verify.
  • Hiring Issues: If an employer knowingly hires unauthorized workers, they may face penalties including back pay, recruitment restrictions, and even criminal charges.

For Employees:

  • Termination: An employee who fails to present acceptable documentation within the 3-day window may be terminated. This is especially true if they’re unable to provide a legitimate reason for the delay.

Here’s what to do if the I-9 form isn’t completed within three days:


Complete the Form ASAP: Even if the 3-day window has passed, it’s important to complete the I-9 form ASAP. You cannot backdate the form, but you can attach a clear explanation for the delay.


Present Documents: If you haven’t presented the required documents yet, do so as soon as possible. Explain any delays to your employer.

Can an employer ask for specific documents from an employee?

Employers must treat all employees equally when it comes to I-9 documentation requests.

It’s illegal for an employer to require specific documents from an employee. The key is to provide a list of acceptable documents and allow the employee to choose. By asking for specific documents, employers risk discrimination claims. They also risk violating anti-discrimination laws.

The best practice is to request only what is necessary as per the guidelines provided by USCIS. Don’t impose extra requirements on certain individuals. Fairness and complying with immigration laws are key. They make hiring smoother.

Remember, there are specific documents you will need. They are included in List A, List B, and List C.

How long should employers keep completed I-9 Forms?

When it comes to the question of how long employers should keep completed I-9 Forms, clarity is key.

The regulations specify that employers must keep these forms for a certain period after an employee has left. The general rule is to keep the forms for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.

This timeframe allows for compliance with federal guidelines and ensures records are available. Maintaining these not only demonstrates good business practices, but also helps in audits.

Keeping track of your I-9 Forms may seem like a mundane task, but it plays a crucial role in upholding legal standards and safeguarding your business interests.

How often must I-9 forms be updated or reverified?

In general, the I-9 form itself doesn’t need to be updated or reverified unless certain circumstances arise. The focus is on ensuring the employee’s continued authorization to work in the US.

Here’s a breakdown of when reverification might be necessary:

  • Document Expiration: If an employee’s work authorization document (like a visa or employment authorization card) expires, you will need to reverify their employment eligibility within a specific timeframe. USCIS recommends employers remind employees at least 90 days beforehand that they need to present new documentation to show continued authorization on the date their work authorization expires.
  • Employee Name Change: The I-9 regulations don’t require employees to present documents specifically to show a legal name change. However, it’s recommended to take steps to maintain accurate information on the form. You can ask the employee to provide documentation of the name change (like a marriage certificate) and attach it to the original I-9.
  • Rehiring Employees:
    • Within 3 Years: If you rehire an employee within three years of their original hire date and you used the previous Form I-9, you can complete a new section of Supplement B (Reverification and Rehire) on the current version of the I-9. This section focuses on verifying their continued work authorization (especially if documents have expired).
    • After 3 Years: If you rehire an employee after three years of their original hire date, you need to complete a whole new Form I-9.

How do I correct an error on a previously filed I-9 form?

Making a mistake on an I-9 form can cost your organization. Check out the most common mistakes on Form I-9 to try to prevent them.

However, if you do make a mistake, there are ways to correct errors on a previously filed I-9 form, but it’s crucial to do so without concealing the original information.

Here’s how to handle it:

Minor Errors:

  • Draw a Line Through the Mistake: If the error is minor (like a typo in a name or date), simply draw a single line through the incorrect information.
  • Write the Correction Clearly: Write the correct information next to the line you drew.
  • Initial and Date the Correction: Both you (the employer or authorized representative) and the employee must initial and date the correction to acknowledge it.

Multiple Errors in One Section:

  • Redo the Section on a New Form I-9: If there are multiple errors within a specific section (Section 1 or 2), it’s recommended to redo just that section on a new Form I-9.
  • Attach the New Section to the Original: Attach the completed and signed new section to the original I-9 form.
  • Include a Written Explanation: Attach a signed and dated note explaining why the section was redone.

Major Errors or Incomplete Forms:

  • Complete a New Form I-9: If the errors are significant (like entire sections left blank) or the form is incomplete,you’ll need to complete a new Form I-9 entirely.
  • Attach a Written Explanation: Similar to above, attach a signed and dated note explaining why a new form was completed.

Some additional points to remember:

  • Never Use Correction Fluid: Don’t use correction fluid (white-out) or erase information on the original I-9 form.This can be seen as an attempt to conceal the error and could lead to penalties.
  • Maintain Records: Keep all the corrected or new I-9 forms and attached explanations in your employee’s personnel file.

It’s important to consult the latest guidance from USCIS for the most up-to-date information on correcting I-9 errors.

Breathe Easy with Streamlined I-9 Management

That was a lot of information, but hopefully, it’s eased your I-9 anxieties. Remember, navigating I-9 compliance doesn’t have to be a headache. It’s a lot for human resources to take on, but it isn’t impossible.

Here’s where technology comes in as your hero! Technology can help a lot more than answering some frequently asked questions.

Our innovative I-9 software streamlines the entire process, making it faster, easier, and more secure. Mitratech offers a user-friendly platform for both employers and employees.

Here’s how our software empowers you:

  • Effortless Form Completion: Guide employees through the I-9 process electronically, minimizing errors and saving time.
  • Automated Document Verification: Electronically verify document authenticity, reducing the risk of mistakes and speeding up onboarding.
  • Secure Storage and Compliance Tracking: Store I-9 forms securely and receive alerts for upcoming document expirations, ensuring ongoing compliance.

Ready to ditch the I-9 stress? Schedule a free demo today and see how our software can revolutionize your onboarding process!

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