Avoiding Form I-9 Penalties: Tips for Staying Compliant

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Understanding Form I-9 Penalties for Non-Compliance

It is important for employers in the United States to understand and comply with the complex requirements of Form I-9. They are likely to face severe financial and legal consequences for non-compliance. This article explores the possible penalties for failing to meet Form I-9 requirements and explains how Imagility’s AI-powered solution can help employers stay compliant and avoid these penalties.

Here are some of the potential penalties for non-compliance with Form I-9.

  • Companies could face civil fines of up to $2,700 per employee if they fail to correctly complete or maintain each Form I-9.
  • There are criminal penalties in certain serious cases, which could involve up to six months of imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $3,000, for purposeful violations of the I-9 regulations.
  • Debarment from government contracts for employers who have committed certain violations of Form I-9.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Penalties for non-compliance with Form I-9 regulations vary based on the severity of the violation and the employer’s history of non-compliance. Fines associated with wilfully hiring, employing, or recruiting unauthorized individuals include:

  • First Offense – Ranges from $375 to $3,200 per unauthorized employee.
  • Second Offense – Ranges from $3,200 to $6,500 per unauthorized employee
  • Third Offense – Ranges from $4,300 to $16,000 per unauthorized employee.

Serious fines of over $3000 per unauthorized employee, along with potential imprisonment can be levied on employers who seem to engage in a “pattern of practice.” Paperwork violations, like failing to complete or maintain accurate I-9 forms, can lead to fines ranging from $110 to $1,100 per employee, irrespective of their employment authorization status.

Criminal Consequences

Hiring unauthorized employees can result in employers and their hiring managers facing criminal charges and severe penalties. This could include federal prison time of five years or more and substantial fines. Likewise, illegal “harboring,” assisting undocumented immigrants, and using fake documents to hire an unauthorized employee are a few federal crimes that can lead to legal actions against employers.

Tips to Avoid Non-Compliance Penalties

  • Stay updated on Form I-9 requirements, regulations, and changes to the form.
  • Ensure HR personnel responsible for completing the I-9 forms are well-trained and understand the proper procedures.
  • Utilize official resources provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for accurate information on the rules and regulations.
  • Review and audit I-9 records to identify and rectify errors.
  • Consider automation and implement software solutions for Form I-9 management that can help streamline the entire I-9 process and reduce the risk of errors.

How Imagility Can Assist

Imagility offers a unique AI-powered I-9 Solution and a variety of features to help employers navigate the complexities of Form I-9 requirements and avoid penalties.

  • A cloud-based Form I-9 management system that makes it easy to complete and maintain Form I-9s electronically.
  • Training and support to help businesses understand how the Imagility I-9 works and how to comply with Form I-9 requirements.
  • I-9 form audit program to help employers identify and correct potential compliance issues. Personalized compliance programs to suit unique business needs are offered.
  • Implement online I-9 solutions, to make the process smooth and reduce the risk of paperwork errors.


Form I-9 compliance is an essential aspect of having a workforce authorized to work in the U.S.  Imagility’s expertise in I-9 compliance can help your business navigate complex I-9 regulations, and avoid penalties. If you’d like to learn more about how Imagility can be your trusted I-9 partner in achieving Form I-9 compliance, give us a call at +1 603 782 4622 / +1 617 865 6588 to get a glimpse of how our software works.

Helpful I-9 Resources 

Form I-9 Playbook

Navigating the I-9 Form 2023: What You Need to Know

DHS Ends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility

Internal I-9 Form Corrections and Audit Instructions

Streamlining I-9 Compliance with Imagility – Case Study

I-9 Reverification Simplified: What Every Employer Should Know

Alternative Procedure for Remote Form I-9 Document Verification

I-9 Compliance Verification: E-Verify Requirements & Acceptable I-9 Documentation

The Ultimate Guide to Form I-9: A Comprehensive Resource for Employers and HR Professionals



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