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What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is a document introduced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for work in the United States. It applies to both citizens and noncitizens who are hired, recruited, or referred for employment in return for wages or other forms of compensation.

Why is Form I-9 Important?

Form I-9 serves as a crucial tool in ensuring that employers hire individuals who are authorized to work in the U.S. By completing this form, employers can confirm an employee's identity and eligibility to work, thereby preventing unauthorized individuals from taking up employment opportunities.

In 2022, 1-9 paperwork violation penalties ranged from $272 to $2,701 for the first offense for substantive violations or uncorrected technical errors. The range is $1,161 to $2,322 for second and subsequent paperwork offenses. For hiring an unauthorized worker the fines can range from $676 to $5,404 for a first offense and higher penalties for continued violations of the law. States may impose additional penalties. CA employers who violate provisions of the law may be liable for up to $10,000 per violation.

Who Needs to Complete Form I-9?

Both employers and employees have specific roles in the completion of Form I-9.

Employers must...

  • Ensure that all newly hired employees complete Section 1 of Form I-9 on or before their first day of work.
  • Complete Section 2 of Form I-9 within three business days of the employee's first day of work. This involves physically inspecting and verifying the employee's original documents that establish identity and work authorization.
  • Retain and store completed Form I-9s for a specific period as required by law.

Employees must....

  • Complete Section 1 of Form I-9 truthfully and accurately, providing required personal information and attesting to their employment authorization status.
  • Present acceptable and valid documents to their employer to establish identity and work eligibility. These documents can be found on the last page of Form I-9.

Filling Out Form I-9 Correctly

It is essential for both employers and employees to be meticulous while filling out Form I-9. Here are some key tips:

For Employers:

  • Ensure that all employees complete Section 1 on their first day of work.
  • Familiarize yourself with the List of Acceptable Documents and only accept valid and unexpired documents for verification.
  • Be consistent in your practices and avoid discriminatory behavior while verifying employees' documents.

For Employees:

  • Provide accurate and truthful information in Section 1.
  • Review the List of Acceptable Documents and choose the appropriate documents to present for verification.
  • Seek clarification from your employer if you have any questions or concerns about Form I-9.

The 2023 Revised Form I-9 Form!

Rather than examining an employee's identity and employment authorization documents in person, employers who participate in E-Verify and are in good standing will have the option to conduct verification electronically and with a live video call interaction. The revised Form I-9 (edition date 08/01/23) will be published on on Aug. 1, 2023. Employers can use the current Form I-9 (edition date 10/21/19) through Oct. 31, 2023. Starting Nov. 1, 2023, all employers must use the new Form I-9 and can download it here. The benefits of the new form include:

  • Reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet;
  • Is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices;
  • Moves the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary;
  • Moves Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required;
  • Revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation;
  • Reduces Form instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages; and
  • Includes a checkbox allowing employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.

Importance of Compliance

Complying with Form I-9 requirements is not just a legal obligation but also essential for maintaining a fair and authorized workforce. Failure to complete or improperly fill out Form I-9 can lead to serious consequences for both employers and employees. Non-compliance may result in fines, penalties, loss of work authorization, and even criminal charges in severe cases.


Form I-9 may seem like a typical administrative task, but its significance in ensuring a legal and authorized workforce cannot be overlooked. Employers and employees must collaborate to complete the form accurately and on time, helping to uphold the integrity of the U.S. employment system. By understanding the purpose and procedures of Form I-9, we can foster a workplace that complies with immigration laws and embraces a diverse and legal workforce.

Contact us to learn more and request a Form I-9 Audit.

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