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[Video] Form I-9 Requirements

Human Resources

Form I-9 compliance has become a critical and timely issue for employers. Julie Williams, Paychex HR consultant, provides a brief background on each section of these required forms, and breaks down key rules and requirements around them.

Full transcript:

Immigration laws require employers to hire only individuals legally permitted to work in the U.S. These include U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals, lawful permanent residents, and aliens authorized to work in the US. To comply with these laws, employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of each person hired. You do this with Form I-9, employment eligibility verification, which you complete and retain for each employee.

This form has three main sections. Section 1 is for employees, and it includes their personal information, their citizenship or immigration status, and the preparer and/or translator certification, if applicable. Newly hired employees must complete and sign section 1 no later than the first day of work for pay. Note, you may not ask an individual who has not accepted a job offer to complete section 1.

Section 2 is for you, the employer. This part of the form must be completed within three business days of the employee's first day of employment. First, review section 1 to ensure the employee filled it out properly. Then you will complete the following steps.

  • Ensure any document presented by the employee is on the list of acceptable documents, or is an acceptable receipt.
  • Physically examine each document to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine, and related to the employee presenting it.
  • Enter the document title, issuing authority, numbers, and expiration date if any from the original documents the employee presented.
  • Lastly, sign and date the section.

Section three is used only when recertification is required. You must keep a completed Form I-9 for every active person on your payroll who is required to complete it. You must also keep these forms and any copies for a specified time after an employee stops working for you. It is up to you to determine the best way to store these records, but there are specific requirements if you choose to keep them electronically. Regardless of how you choose to store completed Form I-9s, you must be able to present open for inspection by officials from various government agencies.

Generally, you'll get a notice of inspection, which allows three days' notice. However, subpoenas and warrants can be used without advance notice. Employers who refuse or delay an inspection, or who have completed or retained these forms incorrectly may be in violation of the law, which can lead to civil fines, or even criminal penalties.

As you can see, Form I-9 recordkeeping can be complicated to manage correctly. We recommend you take advantage of all the resources at your disposal. It's simply smart business to make sure you are compliant with these requirements.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.