Form I-9 is a requirement of all employees working in the United States. This form certifies the identity of the employee and their eligibility to work in the United States. The form must be completed within three working days from the date of hire, although an employer can obtain an additional 21 days by submitting a receipt showing that a form of identification is currently processing.

What Does Form I-9 Require?

Form I-9 requires the employer to do the following:

  • Have the employee sign the I-9
  • Examine to make sure the form is properly completed and legible
  • Look at the employee’s forms of identification to be reasonably sure they are not false or invalid
  • Complete the verification section and record which documents were presented
  • Confirm that the employee is eligible for employment by signing the form

A completed I-9 form will both comply with federal law and provide the employer with a good defense if they are later accused of knowingly hiring illegal aliens.

What Are Valid Forms of Identification?

An employee must present valid forms of identification that establish the employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States.

Documents that establish both identity and eligibility include:

  • Current United States passport
  • Certificate of United States citizenship
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Unexpired foreign passport that contains an unexpired stamp allowing employment
  • Alien Registration Receipt Card
  • Resident Alien Card with photograph
  • Temporary Resident Card
  • Employment Authorization Card

An employee may present one from each of the following two categories as well.

Documents that establish only identity include:

  • State driver’s license or identification card
  • School or university identification card with photograph
  • Voter registration card
  • United States military identification card or draft record
  • Identification cards issued by federal, state or local government agencies
  • Military dependent’s identification card
  • Native American tribal documents
  • United States Coast Guard Merchant Mariner card
  • Driver’s license issued in Canada

Documents that only establish employment eligibility include:

  • Social Security card
  • Birth Certificate issued by a state, county, or municipal authority with an official seal
  • Unexpired INS employment authorization
  • Unexpired reentry permit
  • Unexpired Refugee Travel Document
  • Birth Certificate issued by the Department of State
  • Identification used by Resident Citizen in the United States

Do I Need an Employment Attorney to Review My Form I-9?

Trouble may arise if an employer fails to have all employees complete a Form I-9. If a question arises about the validity of an employee, it is a good idea to consult an experienced employment attorney immediately.