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

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Your Complete Resource for Employment Eligibility Verification

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on employment eligibility verification. This comprehensive guide delves deep into the most important process of verifying the eligibility of employees to work in the United States. We cover everything from understanding the legal framework to practical tips for maintaining compliance. Whether you’re an employer, HR professional, or employee, this pillar post serves as your primary guide to navigate the complexities of employment eligibility verification.

Section 1: Understanding the Basics of the I-9 Form

Section 2: Best Practices for I-9 Compliance

Section 3: Navigating Complex Situations With the I-9 Form

Section 4: Resources and Tools for I-9 Form Management

Section 1: Understanding the Basics of the I-9 Form

What is the I-9 Form?

The Employment Eligibility Verification form, Form I-9, is used by U.S. employers to verify the employment eligibility and identity of their new hires. This form has to be completed for all employees, including U.S. citizens and non-citizens. All employers must comply with this requirement as it is required by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The I-9 form helps ensure that the individual hired by the employer is authorized to work in the U.S. In order to prevent unlawful employment of unauthorized individuals, U.S. employers have to ensure that their employees complete this form and retain it for all of their workforce. While completing Form I-9, employees are required to enter their names and other information, attach specific documentation to prove their eligibility to work in the U.S., and confirm their identity. Employers need to make sure that the information and documents provided by the employees are accurate and correct.

This form has to be completed by employees and employers within a certain time period after the employee is employed. The completed form must be retained by the employer, which serves as proof that the employer has verified the employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the country. It is their responsibility to retain these forms while the employee is employed and after he or she is terminated or leaves the job.

The organization has to demonstrate its compliance with U.S. immigration laws by completing and retaining I-9 forms for all its employees and by hiring only individuals who are authorized to work in the country. Employers who fail to comply with these requirements are likely to face heavy penalties.

Completing Form I-9

As mentioned above, Form I-9, the employment eligibility verification form, must be completed by employers and employees. Here’s a breakdown of who needs to complete the form.

  • Employees
    • This includes every individual hired for employment in the U.S., including U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens.
    • Temporary and permanent employees
    • Full-time and part-time workers
    • Section 1 of the I-9 form is meant for employees, where they must provide their personal information, establishing their eligibility to work in the country.
  • Employers
    • All employers in the U.S. must complete and retain Form I-9 for all their employees.

Independent contractors and self-employed individuals are not required to complete this form. Employers can verify the employment eligibility of independent contractors by having them provide the required documentation. It has to be noted that refugees, asylees, and certain categories of non-immigrants might have to provide additional documents to prove their eligibility to work in America. While employing such individuals, employees must seek legal advice or consult with USCIS officials for instructions on completing Form I-9.

Key Components of the I-9 Form

The I-9 Form consists of three sections that employees and employers must complete.

Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation

  • Section 1 of Form I-9 must be completed by the new hires on the very first day of employment. However, they must only complete this form after accepting employment with their respective employer.
  • Employees must fill in their full names, addresses, immigration status, Social Security number, passport number, and other details.
  • Employees must also indicate their employment eligibility by selecting an appropriate option and providing the necessary additional information or documentation.

Section 2: Employer Review and Verification

  • The employer or their authorized representative should fill out this section. This has to be done within the first three days after the new hire’s first day of employment. Employers must physically examine I-9 forms or use the alternative procedure authorized by the U.S. Department of State. It is crucial to go through the form instructions before completing the form.
  • Employers will have to examine supporting documentation the employee provided and verify them.
  • In the corresponding form fields, employers must record the document title, issuing authority, document number, and other required details.
  • Once they complete this section, they must sign and date the form. This is to confirm that they have verified the supporting documents the employee provided and that they are legitimate.

Supplement A – Preparer and/or Translator Certification for Section 1

  • The preparer or the translator who helps the employee complete Section 1 of Form I-9 must complete this section.
  • The employee’s name must be entered in the spaces provided on the I-9 form.
  • The preparer or the translator should complete the form, sign it, and date it.
  • Employers should retain the supplement sheets and the completed I-9 forms.

Supplement B –  Reverification and Rehire

  • Section 3: Reverification and Rehires (if applicable)
    • This section is utilized for re-verifying the work eligibility of employees whose work authorization has lapsed.
    • It is also used for documenting rehired employees within three years of their initial I-9 form completion, if their previous authorization has expired, or if they were previously exempt from completing the form.
    • Employers must complete Section 3 and update any necessary information or document expiration dates.
  • List of Acceptable Documents
    • This list is provided on the last page of the I-9 form and contains various documents that employees can present to establish their identity and employment eligibility.
    • Employees must select and present one document from List A or a combination of one document from List B (identity) and one document from List C (employment eligibility).

Both employees and employers must carefully read the instructions and guidelines provided with the I-9 Form to ensure accurate completion and compliance with the requirements.

Step-by-step instructions for accurately completing each section of Form I-9.

How to Complete the I-9 Form

I-9 Form Completion Timeline

It is mandatory to complete the I-9 form within the first three days of employment of the new hire. The employee has to complete the first section of the form on the first day of employment and Section 2 must be completed by the employer within the above-mentioned time frame.

Section 2: Best Practices for I-9 Compliance

Tips for Error-Free Completion of the I-9 Form

Here are a few tips for error-free completion of Form I-9 for employees and employers.

  • Carefully read the instructions before completing the form to understand the requirements of each section of Form I-9.
  • Make sure you use the latest version of Form I-9. You can see the edition date at the bottom of the page on the I-9 form and the form instructions.
  • Provide accurate information and make sure the information you enter in the form matches the supporting documentation you provide.
  • Fill out all the sections of the form, and don’t leave important form fields blank.
  • Enter the correct dates for the start of employment and expiration of work authorization.
  • Sign and date the form and double-check whether the signature is in the appropriate field.
  • Present valid and acceptable supporting documentation.
  • Employers must keep track of re-verification dates if the employee’s work authorization has an expiration date. Using immigration management software or a system to track and complete reverification in a timely manner is recommended.
  • Retain completed I-9 forms and their supporting documents for the duration required by the USCIS.
  • Conduct regular internal audits and review I-9 forms to ensure accuracy. This way, you can catch errors, rectify them, and be I-9 audit-ready.
  • Keep track of updates on I-9 regulations and ensure compliance.

Follow the tips above to reduce the chances of errors and avoid hefty penalties.

Learn more about correcting errors on Form I-9 and conducting an internal I-9 audit.

Internal I-9 Form Corrections and Audit Instructions

Acceptable Documents for Employment Eligibility Verification

Acceptable documents for employment eligibility verification fall into three categories: List A, List B, and List C. New hires will have to present specific combinations of these acceptable documents to establish their identity and eligibility to work in the United States.

Click here for the complete list of acceptable documentation for Form I-9

Section 3: Navigating Complex Situations With the I-9 Form

Reverification and Updating Form I-9

Supplement B of Form I-9 must be used by employers if any of their employees require reverification. If an employee is rehired within three years from the date on which the original I-9 form was completed or if an employee legally changes his or her name and submits proof of legal name change, this Supplement must be completed. Employees must enter the name of the employee in the respective fields and use a new section for each reverification or rehire. Whenever a requirement for reverification or rehire arises, employees must carefully read the form instructions and complete this page. This Supplement also must be retained as a part of the employee’s Form I-9 record.

Dealing with Penalties and Correcting Errors

The I-9 form is a crucial document U.S. employers use to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment. Failure to comply with the proper completion and retention of these forms can result in huge penalties. Penalties can vary based on the severity and frequency of violations, reaching up to $2,700 for each mistake, depending on their seriousness and recurrence. It is mandatory for employers to adhere to all the I-9 requirements to avoid financial liabilities.

Nevertheless, dealing with I-9 penalties and fixing errors requires a strategic approach that includes legal expertise, keeping accurate documentation, and following all the rules. By following these steps, you can handle problems with confidence and ensure your organization remains I-9 compliant.

It may not be an easy task for large organizations to maintain proper I-9 records and stay compliant as they could hire more people and the HR team might get overwhelmed with a lot of petitions and backlogs. It could be challenging for the HR team to collaborate with their colleagues in different locations and manage paperwork. This is why using immigration software that will take care of all the paperwork is recommended. It is crucial for businesses to navigate the complex landscape of I-9 compliance. Here is where AI-powered software like Imagility comes in place. Our comprehensive approach to addressing I-9 penalties and rectifying errors provides businesses with a reliable solution that ensures compliance and mitigates risks. Discover how our expertise can guide you through the intricacies of I-9 forms, streamline correction processes, and safeguard your business from potential penalties.

Book a Demo to learn how Imagility I-9 Solution works.

Book Imagility I-9 Demo

Compliance with Anti-Discrimination Laws

Compliance with Anti-Discrimination Laws is the critical aspect of the I-9 verification process. This involves treating everyone fairly and equally when verifying their eligibility for employment. These laws ensure that no unfair treatment occurs based on factors such as race, gender, or religion. Employment eligibility verification is a crucial process for employers to guarantee a lawful workforce and maintain compliance with immigration laws. Prioritizing compliance with these laws helps companies create a workplace where everyone feels welcome and respected.

Section 4: Resources and Tools for I-9 Form Management

Here are some useful I-9 resources for employees and employers.

I-9 Resources and Guidance

Imagility I-9 Software Solution

There are I-9 software solutions that can simplify the entire I-9 process. Imagility brings you an exciting AI-powered solution that can transform how your company or law firm handles I-9 forms. With our advanced software, you can experience improved efficiency and accuracy. Effortlessly simplify your I-9 processes using AI automation to stay I-9 compliant and for compliance peace of mind.

Imagility’s I-9 Compliance software covers all aspects of I-9 and helps businesses stay I-9 compliant. Our comprehensive solution guides you through the intricate I-9 process for all employees. It can help save 15 hours a week!

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Check out our case study to learn how our I-9 Solution helps businesses save time.

I-9 Case Study


Employment eligibility verification is an essential process for employers to ensure a verified workforce and maintain compliance with immigration laws. By following the insights and recommendations provided in this guide, you can establish robust policies and procedures, accurately complete Form I-9, and navigate the complexities of verifying employee eligibility. Stay informed, embrace best practices, and make use of the resources provided to stay I-9 compliant.

It is crucial to make sure your business follows immigration rules. The way Imagility deals with I-9 problems and fixes mistakes is comprehensive and dependable. It helps you stay within the rules and avoids issues. Find out how our experience and expertise can help you with I-9 forms, fixing errors, and keeping your business safe from penalties by booking a free demo of our I-9 Solution. Make sure you seek legal counsel when you feel stuck.

This information is provided for reference purposes only. It is recommended to stay informed about regulatory changes and consult legal professionals if necessary.

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