How to Ensure That Your Business Is Complying with I-9 Requirements


Form 1-9 is an incredibly important – and often used – document for employers. Form I-9 is used to document the verification of the identity and employment authorization of each new employee (both citizen and noncitizen) hired after November 6, 1986, to work in the United States.

Employers – not employees – are responsible for completing and retaining Form I-9 and it is incredibly important that employers follow appropriate procedures and requirements when doing so since employers can be fined if the form is not properly completed. Furthermore, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has partnered with several other agencies, including most recently the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to assist with the enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions related to Form I-9s, which means that there is an increased likelihood that compliance errors will be discovered.

With respect to Form I-9, employers (or their authorized representative) must do the following in order to comply with Form I-9 requirements:

  • Allow the employee to choose which documents to present for verification.
  • Refrain from requesting more documents than necessary.
  • Physically examine each original document the employee presents to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it. The person who examines the documents must be the same person who signs Section 2 of the Form I-9. The examiner of the documents and the employee must both be physically present during the examination of the employee’s documents.
  • Record the document title shown on the Lists of Acceptable Documents, issuing authority, document number and expiration date (if any) from the original document(s) the employee presents.
  • Provide the employee’s first day of employment under “Certification.”
  • Provide the name and title of the person completing Section 2 in the Signature of Employer or Authorized Representative field. Sign and date the attestation on the date Section 2 is completed.
  • Record the employer’s business name and address.
  • Return the employee’s documentation.
  • Refrain from using pre-populated information for Section 1 if using electronic software for I-9 completion, storage, and compliance.

The Chicago business immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group focus on helping employers and nonresident employees with all of their immigration issues. As such, we provide advice and guidance to employers on compliance with Form I-9 requirements and other employment immigration issues. If you are an employer or a human resources professional in charge of immigration compliance, we can help you with the following:

  • Avoiding and correcting common errors in completing I-9 forms;
  • Developing internal policies and procedures to maximize success in completing and maintaining I-9 forms properly;
  • Limiting liability in completing I-9 forms and verifying pertinent documents;
  • Avoiding violations that government agencies audit and enforce; and
  • Understanding the risks and liabilities associated with Form I-9 noncompliance.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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