Remote Work Glossary

What is Form I-9

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    Form I-9, officially known as the “Employment Eligibility Verification Form,” is a document used in the US to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the country. It is a requirement of the US Department of Homeland Security’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

    Who must complete form I-9?

    Federal law stipulates that employers are responsible for completing Form I-9 when hiring new employees, including:

    • US citizens
    • Noncitizen nationals
    • Lawful permanent residents
    • Noncitizens authorized to work in the US

    The form’s purpose is to ensure that new hires are legally authorized to work in the US. This authorization helps employers maintain compliance with immigration laws and regulations and prevent the employment of unauthorized workers.

    How do you complete form I-9?

    Form I-9 requires the newly hired employee and the employer to provide information and complete respective sections. 

    Form I-9 has two sections, and a Supplement B. The employee must complete section 1 with their name, date of birth, contact details, and social security number (if they have one). Section 2 and supplement B (formerly section 3) must be completed by the employer or the employer’s authorized representative. 

    Supplement B is used for reverification and rehire when the employer chooses not to complete a new Form I-9 to reverify or rehire an employee. 

    Employers must provide I-9 instructions on how to complete each section of the form. For additional help and instructions, check out the handbook for employers (M-274).

    The employee must also present valid and original documents that establish their identity and work authorization. These documents can include passports, driver’s licenses, ID cards, permanent resident cards, Social Security cards, and other forms of identification. The list of acceptable documents can be found on the second page of the form. Employees can present any list A document or a combination of a list B and a list C document. 

    The employer must then examine the presented documents and verify that they appear genuine and relate to the employee. The information from the documents is recorded on Form I-9, and the employer signs the form to certify the verification process.

    When must you complete form form I-9?

    Form I-9 must be completed within a certain timeframe, typically within the first three business days of the employee’s first day of employment.

    Employers must retain Form I-9 for each current employee for a specific retention period, either until the employee’s termination date or for three years after the date of hire, whichever is later. 

    These forms may be subject to inspection by officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Labor, the Department of Justice, or the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.

    Employers and employees need to understand the requirements of Form I-9 and complete it accurately to ensure compliance with US immigration and employment laws. 

    The guidelines and requirements for Form I-9 may change over time, so it’s advisable to refer to the official USCIS website or seek legal advice for the most up-to-date information.

    What are the consequences of failing to conduct I-9 verification properly?

    Failure to properly conduct I-9 verification can result in penalties from ICE, including fines, government contract debarments, and even criminal penalties.

    What are the potential legal or compliance issues in I-9 verification?

    Non-compliance with I-9 verification can result in severe penalties, including monetary fines and business operation restrictions. Legal issues can also arise if employers use the I-9 process to discriminate against individuals based on their national origin, citizenship, or immigration status.

    What are the best practices for I-9 verification?

    Best practices for I-9 verification include training all HR personnel on the process, conducting internal audits of I-9 forms, and promptly correcting any errors found. It's also recommended to use an electronic system for managing I-9 forms.

    How to stay updated on changes related to I-9 verification?

    Staying updated on changes related to I-9 Verification can be done by regularly checking the official USCIS website, subscribing to relevant newsletters, and attending HR compliance webinars or trainings.

    Recent updates to form I-9 include: 

    • New form: The USCIS issued a new form I-9 on August 1, 2023. Employers have until October 31, 20223, to stop using the old form
    • Alternative procedure: Reversion back to the pre-pandemic policy of reviewing employee documentation in person in their physical presence is in effect; however, employers can examine employee documents remotely using E-Verify
    • Fines: For significant and/or inaccurate information, fines range from $252 to $2,507 for a first offense and $1,161 to $2,322 for ongoing offenses. Penalties for the recruitment, referral, and hiring of unauthorized individuals have also gone up
    • Updated inspection process: The Department of Homeland Security has updated the I-9 Inspection Process flowchart with new information about notices of suspect documents and notices of discrepancies

    What are the common mistakes in I-9 verification?

    Common mistakes in I-9 verification include not completing the form on time, not properly reviewing documents, or not correcting errors properly. These mistakes can lead to non-compliance and penalties.

    What is I-9 verification for EOR?

    I-9 Verification for employer of record (EOR) is a legal process in the US where the EOR confirms or reverifys a newly hired employee’s identity and employment eligibility.

    The EOR does this by assessing and validating the employee’s I-9 form, a document mandated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). 

    An EOR is an organization that hires and compensates one or more full-time employees on behalf of another company. EORs enable companies to legally work with employees in a foreign country without setting up a legal entity in that country.

    What is the purpose of I-9 verification for EOR?

    The purpose of I-9 verification is to prevent unauthorized employment in the US. This process ensures that the EOR hires only individuals legally permitted to work in the US, either as citizens or non-citizens, with appropriate work authorization.

    How does an EOR conduct I-9 verification?

    The EOR conducts I-9 verification by reviewing the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents, ensuring they are genuine and relate to the employee, and then completing the I-9 form.

    The new I-9 verification process allows EOR employees to complete their I-9 form easily and compliantly. The I-9 consists of section 1, completed by the employee, and section 2, completed by an authorized representative. 

    At the beginning of 2023, the USCIS released guidance stating that employers can no longer act as authorized representatives to validate documents without physically seeing them. Instead, the employee can assign a representative to review documents on behalf of the EOR. 

    What role does I-9 verification play in global hiring?

    For companies hiring employees to work within the US, I-9 verification is a critical part of the hiring process regardless of where the company is based. It ensures that all employees meet US employment eligibility standards.

    How does I-9 verification affect remote work?

    With remote work, I-9 Verification can be more complex. However, the US government allows employers to designate an authorized representative to physically review employment eligibility documents, which can be a solution for remote employees.

    Conduct your I-9 verification with Deel 

    Deel’s new I-9 feature allows employees to easily verify and reverify their I-9 and start or continue working for employers in the US. 

    Check out our guide to submitting form I-9 on Deel.