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Glossary

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What is Form I9 / I9 Form?

Form I9 / I9 Form

Updated on:
16 Jan, 2014
What is Form I9 / I9 Form?
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The Form I-9 / I-9 form is the Employee Eligibility Verification Form issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security.

The USCIS administers the country’s immigration system. That includes ensuring that employees in the country are legally authorized to work. One of the requirements the USCIS has for employers is the requirement to complete Form I-9 for each of their employees.

Why do you need Form I-9?

Employers are required by the USCIS to have an I-9 employment document for each of their employees, with some exceptions. This document verifies that an employee is legally authorized to work in the United States. Employees provide identification documents and attest that they can legally work in the country.

Personal identification documents, such as passports or other documents, are shown to employers, who verify that the documents are valid and up-to-date, record the documents, and then save the completed Form I-9.

Non-compliance with Form I-9 requirements can be expensive for employers. Penalties range from $275 to $27,018 for each violation of the law. The penalties are more severe for subsequent offenses of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers. Criminal penalties can include jail time of up to six months.

In addition to immigration compliance, employers should ensure they are complying with tax laws to be in full compliance.

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Who uses Form I-9?

All employers who have employees in the United States use Form I-9 to verify the legal ability of their employees to work in the country. This is true for most employers, whether the employees are full-time, part-time, or work remotely.

Exceptions to the requirement for employees to fill in Form I-9 include:

  • Employees hired on or before November 6, 1986,
  • Casual domestic services such as a cleaning person, handyman, or babysitter who offers sporadic or intermittent services,
  • Workers hired through temporary or staffing agencies, and
  • Independent contractors.

Most other employees not listed above would need to fill in Form I-9 and have their documentation verified by the employer or a representative of the employer. Non-compliance is part of the legal risks of remote employment. Employers should be sure to complete all required forms to remain in compliance.

How to use Form I-9?

Form I-9 can be downloaded from the USCIS website. On the first day of an employee’s onboarding, employers should instruct the employee to fill in the first section and show their supporting documentation. The second section is completed by the employer.

Guidelines for employees

Employees should fill in the first section of the form on their first day of employment. An identity document must be shown to the employer along with employment authorization, if necessary.

If a document from List A is shown (see the section on acceptable documents), no other document is necessary. Otherwise, a document should be shown from both List B and List C.

Guidelines for employers

Employers or their representatives must ensure the documents presented are original, genuine, and on the list of acceptable documents. Form I-9 is then completed by the employer. The I-9 documents are then kept on file for at least three years after the employee’s start date.

Companies that have remote teams will also have to fill out an I-9 Form for remote employees just the same, as if their employees were not remote, as long as those employees are working in the United States.

Since March 20, 2020, in-person verification requirements for Form I-9 have been temporarily relaxed by the DHS. The updated flexibility has been extended until July 21, 2023. If employers are unable to physically verify documents, a memorandum should be included with Form I-9 stating a reason why physical verification was not possible.

How to fill out Form I-9?

The first section of Form I-9 is entitled “Employee information and attestation.” Employees fill out this section with their personal information such as their name, address, and date of birth.

Then, the employee signs the form, attesting that they have the legal authorization to work in the US. Employees attest that they are either a US citizen, US non-citizen national, permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work in the US.

Supporting documentation is shown to the employer, who verifies the documents and fills out the second section of Form I-9 entitled “Employer review and attestation.”

In section two, details of the documents will need to be filled in, such as:

  • Document title,
  • Document number,
  • Issuing authority,
  • Employment start date, and
  • Work authorization expiration date, if applicable.

Other details in section two include the employer’s name and address and the name, title, and signature of the individual completing the section. This section must be filled out within three days of the employee’s start date.

Acceptable documents when filling in Form I-9

Employees must show documents proving their identity and their employment authorization, if applicable. The USCIS has published lists of acceptable documents.

These documents include List A: documents that establish both identity and employment authorization, List B: documents that establish identity, and List C: documents that establish employment authorization. Employees can either show a document from List A or documents from both List B and List C.

List A Documents

  • US Passport,
  • Form I-551: Permanent Resident card or Alien Registration Receipt Card,
  • Form I-766: Employment Authorization Documentation Card,
  • Foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A,
  • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or Form I-94A, and
  • Foreign passport with a Form I-551 stamp or Form I-551 notation.

List B Documents

  • Driver’s License,
  • State, local, or federal ID card,
  • Voter registration,
  • School ID with photo,
  • Native American tribal document,
  • US military card or draft record,
  • Military dependent’s card,
  • US Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Document card,
  • Canadian Driver’s License, and
  • For individuals under age 18: school record, hospital record, or daycare record.

List C Documents

  • US social security card,
  • Original or certified copy of a birth certificate,
  • Form FS-240: Consular Report of Birth Abroad,
  • Form FS-545: Certification of Birth Abroad by the US Department of State,
  • Form DS-1350: Certification of Report of Birth issued by the US Department of State,
  • Native American tribal document,
  • Form I-197: US Citizen ID Card,
  • Form I-179: Identification Card for Use of a Resident Citizen, and
  • Employment authorization document issued by the DHS.

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Where can I get a Form I-9 document?

Form I-9 is available for download at USCIS.gov.

Form I-9

How to file Form I-9?

The US government does not require that Form I-9 be filed. Government agencies may, however, request to see the documents. Employers should keep the documents on file for at least three years after the employee starts work or for one year after employment is terminated.

Need help onboarding international talent?

Being an employer in the United States entails several responsibilities to the government. Producing Form I-9 / I-9 form upon request can be challenging. With Skuad, you can easily request, complete, and file Form I-9 documents. To know more, talk to our experts today!

Hire remote teams with an employer of record like Skuad. We can onboard your employees and contractors, process payroll, and take care of your entire global workforce on Skuad’s unified platform, seamlessly.

FAQs

What is Form I-9 used for?

Form I-9 is called the Employee Eligibility Verification Form published and required of employers by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is used by employers to verify that an employee is legally authorized to work in the United States.

The I-9 process takes place at the beginning of an employee’s employment or if they had just been rehired. The first section is filled out by the employee, who attests that they are legally allowed to work in the US. The second section is filled out by the employer who has verified the validity of documents such as passports, ID cards, and other documents.

Why is Form I-9 Necessary?

Form I-9 is necessary to be in full compliance with US immigration laws and to ensure that, as an employer, every employee you hire is legally authorized to work in the country.

Is Form I-9 always required for employment?

Form I-9 is required for most employees, except for employees who offer sporadic or intermittent domestic service. For most other employees, Form I-9 is required, regardless of whether the employees are full-time or part-time and if they work in person or remotely.

Form I-9 is not required to hire independent contractors or workers hired through staffing agencies and temp agencies.

Who has to fill out Form I-9?

Both employees and employers fill out Form I-9. The I-9 employment document is filled in once by the employee and employer. I-9 documents are kept on file by the employer for at least three years.

Most employees need to fill out Form I-9. Exceptions include:

  • Employees hired on or before November 6, 1986,
  • Independent contractors,
  • Casual domestic servants, and
  • Workers hired through staffing or temp agencies.

What's the difference between W2 and I-9?

The difference between the W2 form and Form I-9 is that one is a tax form and the other is an eligibility verification form. There is no such thing as an I-9 tax form. Form I-9 is a form that verifies an employee’s eligibility to work in the country legally. The W2 form is the form that taxpayers receive that details the income they’ve earned the prior tax year.

FAQs

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Form I-9 is called the Employee Eligibility Verification Form published and required of employers by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is used by employers to verify that an employee is legally authorized to work in the United States.

The I-9 process takes place at the beginning of an employee’s employment or if they had just been rehired. The first section is filled out by the employee, who attests that they are legally allowed to work in the US. The second section is filled out by the employer who has verified the validity of documents such as passports, ID cards, and other documents.

Why is Form I-9 Necessary?

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Form I-9 is necessary to be in full compliance with US immigration laws and to ensure that, as an employer, every employee you hire is legally authorized to work in the country.

Is Form I-9 always required for employment?

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Form I-9 is required for most employees, except for employees who offer sporadic or intermittent domestic service. For most other employees, Form I-9 is required, regardless of whether the employees are full-time or part-time and if they work in person or remotely.

Form I-9 is not required to hire independent contractors or workers hired through staffing agencies and temp agencies.

Who has to fill out Form I-9?

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Both employees and employers fill out Form I-9. The I-9 employment document is filled in once by the employee and employer. I-9 documents are kept on file by the employer for at least three years.

Most employees need to fill out Form I-9. Exceptions include:

  • Employees hired on or before November 6, 1986,
  • Independent contractors,
  • Casual domestic servants, and
  • Workers hired through staffing or temp agencies.

What's the difference between W2 and I-9?

closeopen

The difference between the W2 form and Form I-9 is that one is a tax form and the other is an eligibility verification form. There is no such thing as an I-9 tax form. Form I-9 is a form that verifies an employee’s eligibility to work in the country legally. The W2 form is the form that taxpayers receive that details the income they’ve earned the prior tax year.

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Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries
Get started
Employ contractors and employees in 160+ countries
peach illusgreen illus
Employ and pay

global talent

starting at $199

Get started
peach illusgreen illus
Employ and pay

global talent

starting at $199

Table of Content

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