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The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) is required by federal immigration law. Employers are required to verify each employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States at the time of hire. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency enforces this requirement and can impose civil fines and criminal penalties for failure to comply with the law. Further, these punitive actions could result in loss of government contracts for the university.
All hiring managers and administrative support staff should be familiar with the I-9 information outlined on this page. Each hiring department is responsible for having procedures in place to collect the I-9 prior to, or no later than, the employee’s first work day.
The University uses an electronic version of the I-9 through a third party vendor. Only HR Contacts and HR Contact Delegates have access to the electronic I-9 system. HR Contacts and Delegates can find more information about the electronic I-9 system by downloading the Electronic I-9 Overview [PDF]. HR Contacts and Delegates also should become familiar with the paper version of the Form I-9 [PDF], which includes instructions and a list of acceptable documents.
Who is required to complete an I-9?
Every employee of the University must complete the Form I-9 at the time of hire. This includes staff, faculty, and student employees as well as casual and temporary workers who are paid by voucher or on a flat-rate basis. If you are unsure whether a person should be considered an employee or an independent contractor, please refer to the Employee/Independent Contractor Classification Checklist [PDF].
Federal Deadlines for Collecting the I-9
The standard practice at the University is to complete the entire I-9 process prior to the employee’s first day of work, but not before the person has accepted employment.
Federal law requires the employee to complete Section 1 of the I-9 no later than the first day of work. The employee has until the third work day to present unexpired, original documents to prove identity and authorization to work in the U.S. A representative of the University must view the documents and complete Section 2 of the I-9 no later than the third work day. If the employee will be working for less than three days, the entire I-9 process, Section 1 and Section 2, must be complete by the first work day. See the list of I-9 Acceptable Documents.
International employees frequently have documentation that permits them to work in the United States for a designated amount of time. If the employee’s work authorization document is expiring, the employee must provide new work authorization document(s) or show proof that the work authorization has been extended.
Risk of Non-Compliance
The University, the hiring department, and the hiring manager may be subject to the following:
- civil fines
- criminal penalties
- debarment from government contracts
It is important to follow these guidelines to avoid being accused of discriminatory practices. A person should never be asked to complete the I-9 until he or she has accepted employment with the University. Also, do not request specific documents. The employee is required to present acceptable, original documents from the I-9 List of Acceptable Documents, but the employee must be allowed to choose which documents to present.
Employees who work outside the United States are not required to complete an I-9. However, if your new hire is in the United States, but cannot meet you in person to present original, acceptable documents, you must make arrangements to collect the I-9 in the remote location using a paper Form I-9. An HR Contact or staff member in Human Resources can authorize another individual to sign Section 2 of the paper form on behalf of the University. This arrangement is frequently made with the human resources office at another university. Also, if the hiring department has other employees working at the remote location, another employee can be designated to sign Section 2.
Completing an Electronic I-9
HR Contacts, HR Contact Delegates, and Human Resources staff are authorized to initiate the I-9 process and complete the I-9 as a representative of the University.
Section 1: Employee Information and Verification
To be completed on the first day of work. Earlier is acceptable, but the form cannot be completed before the employee has been hired.
- Create a new electronic I-9 using i-9Compliance.com. If you want the employee to complete Section 1 before he/she comes to your office, go to the Queue tab in i-9Compliance.com and click Launch Request.
- Print the I-9 Training Presentation Handouts [PDF] for step-by-step instructions.
- Have a paper Form I-9 available to refer to the form instructions and list of acceptable documents.
Section 2: Employer Review and Verification
To be completed no later than the employee’s third workday. Only the person who viewed the original documents can complete this section.
- Accept the first valid document or combination of documents presented. Accept only originals and do not ask for or accept more than is required.
- Valid documentation is one of the following: One selection from List A, or one from List B and one from List C
- Be sure the employee has signed the documents.
- If the employee chooses to use a Foreign Passport with an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, the I-94 may not have an expiration date. If there is no expiration date on the I-94, the employee must show a third document for work authorization, such as an I-20 or DS-2019.
- You do not need to photocopy the supporting documents.
Section 3: Reverification
Use this section when the employee’s work authorization has changed or has a new expiration date.
- Employee name does not match the documents provided.
- You can accept the documents if they appear to be genuine and related to the individual who is presenting them.
- The employee must use his/her current legal name on the I-9. If he/she is in the process of changing names, use the current name on the I-9 form and the employee record. Once the name has been changed, he/she can present proof at Payroll Services to update his/her employee record.
- If the employee presents a Social Security Card, the name on the Form I-9 must be the same as the name on the card.
- A citizen of the U.S. must provide proof from the Social Security Administration that an application has been made. HRSC Records can assist you to complete a paper form, if the employee needs to present a receipt from the Social Security Administration.
- For international employees, create the electronic I-9 using all zeros, in place of the SSN.
- Once the SSN has been received, you can update the electronic I-9.
- If the employee has a delay letter, refer to the Payroll webpage “Social Security Numbers for Non-United States Citizens,” for instructions.
- Do not backdate the form. Explain why the document is late in the notes section on the electronic I-9.
- Remind all involved that federal law requires this form to be complete no later than the third workday.
- Do not schedule the employee to work until the proper documents have been provided. Contact the Human Resource Service Center (HRSC) for assistance and referral. It may be necessary to work with HR Strategic Workforce Solutions to dismiss the employee.
- If no electronic I-9 has been created.
- Send an email to HRSC Records explaining the problem. Include the employee’s name and EID.
- Remind everyone involved that the I-9 process is a federal requirement and each new hire should complete Section 1 by the start of the first workday without exception.
- Open the electronic I-9 and make a note in the Summary section explaining the problem.
- Terminate the electronic I-9.