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Top 5 Things Employers Need to Know About the I-9 Form

Bridge Team Member

1. What is the I-9 Form and when is it completed?

The I-9 Verification Form documents the verification of identity and the employment authorization of each new employee hired to work in the United States. Section 1 of the Form MUST be completed by the employee on the first day of work, no earlier, no later. Section 2 MUST be completed by the employer within 3 days of the first day of work.

2. What are acceptable forms of identification for the Form?

The only acceptable documents are listed on the I-9 form and must be unexpired original documents or certified copies of birth certificates only.There is a large exception for "receipts for application" for citizenship. The following are acceptable receipts for application:

  • A receipt showing application to replace a document that was lost, stolen or damaged. The employee must present the actual document within 90 days from the date of hire.
  • The arrival portion of Form I-94/I-94A with a temporary I-551 stamp and a photograph of the individual. The employee must present the actual Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) by the expiration date of the temporary I-551 stamp, or, if there is no expiration date, within one year from the date of issue.
  • The departure portion of Form I-94/I-94A with a refugee admission stamp. The employee must present an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or a combination of a List B document and an unrestricted Social Security card within 90 days.

3. How much does it cost to file the I-9 Form for each new employee?

Nothing. The forms are not filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or any other government agency; the employer keeps the forms in case of future inspection. The USCIS even has a free E-Verify program for employers allowing them to electronically verify employment eligibility.

4. So then what does an employer do with the completed I-9 Forms?

Employers are responsible for completing and retaining I-9 Forms for each employee hired. Once the employment ends, the employer must keep all forms and documents for either three (3) years after the date of hire or one (1) year after the date employment ended, whichever is later. Photocopies of documents and forms are not necessary, but if an employer chooses to make photocopies of any documents or forms, they must do so for every new employee.

5. My new employee speaks Spanish only, and I speak Spanish, can we use the Spanish I-9 Form?

The Spanish version of Form I-9 may be filled out by employers and employees in Puerto Rico ONLY. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states and other U.S. territories may print the Spanish version for their reference, but may only complete the form in English to meet employment eligibility verification requirements.

Make sure to check out our I-9 Compliance Checklist to ensure you're meeting all of your responsibilities as an employer of foreign nationals. To learn more about the I-9 Verification Form and hiring new employees, contact the experienced staff at Bridge.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a Bridge-affiliated partner attorney or another qualified legal professional.

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