What Questions Might I Have for I-9 Forms?

Even though the I-9 Form is relatively simple, many HR professionals and frankly anyone filling out the document may have some questions. So What are the FAQs for I-9 forms? We’ve designed this list to address some of the most frequent questions we hear.

  1. Are there new I-9 laws for 2020?
    • Though several revisions are being considered no new changes to the I-9 have been announced
  2. How long is an I-9 form valid?
    • An I-9 remains valid unless one of the following occurs:
      1. Your employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired in which case the Employers must re-verify the Employee and must complete the Section 3 again.
      2. Optionally, you may complete Section 3 when:
        • Your employee is rehired within 3 years of the date that Form I-9 was originally completed.
        • Your employee has a legal name change.
  1. What is required for an I-9 form to be considered complete?
  2. Has the current version of the I-9 form expired?
    • Though the existing I-9 form does show an expiration date of 8/31/2019 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that until further notice employers should continue to use the existing Form I-9 for employment eligibility verification
  3. Do I need to complete Form I-9 for independent contractors or their employees?
    • For example, if you contract with a construction company to perform renovations on your building, you do not have to complete Form I-9 for that company’s employees. The construction company is responsible for completing Form I-9 for its own employees. However, you may not use a contract, subcontract or exchange to obtain the labor or services of an employee knowing that the employee is unauthorized to work.
    • https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/140-some-questions-you-may-have-about-form-i-9
  4. May I fire an employee who fails to produce the required I-9 verification documents?
  5. Am I responsible if I have an I-9 form but the employee is not actually authorized to work?
    • If the form was properly completed and verified, you cannot be charged with a verification violation. You will also have a good faith defense against the imposition of employer sanctions penalties for knowingly hiring an unauthorized individual, unless the government can show you had knowledge of the unauthorized status of the employee.
    • Reference: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/140-some-questions-you-may-have-about-form-i-9
  6. May I complete Section 1 of Form I-9 for an employee?
  7. How long should I keep an I-9 Form?
    • Any employees on your payroll should always have a Form I-9 on file; only after they are terminated will it be necessary to calculate retention requirements. For terminated employees I-9 forms should be retained for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends—whichever is later.
    • Reference: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/retain-store-form-i-9/retaining-form-i-9
  8. How do I correct an I-9 if I find a problem?
    • Follow these steps:
      • Draw a line through the incorrect information.
      • Enter the correct information.
  1. Are you required to keep copies of the document(s) (ID, SS, Passport, etc.) used to verify eligibility for employment with the I-9 form?
  2. How do I correct and I-9 for a terminated employee?

What Next?

Having an I-9 process in place is critical to employee files. It can be a strategic part of your business and an innovative way to stay ahead of the competition. If you’re ready to get your I-9s in order, we’d love to help.