Are Your I-9 Procedures Correct?


We've all heard the stories about the government "cracking down" over Form I-9 and immigration procedures. This checklist may help ensure that your processes are correct when you question job seekers. 

  • Ask each job seeker whether he or she is authorized to work in the U.S.  Do not ask about place of birth or national origin. 
  • Have each new hire fill out a Form I-9 within 3 days of starting work. Be sure the identification document(s) are included in the list on the back of the I-9.  Do they appear genuine? ACCEPT ORIGINALS ONLY. 
  • If corrections are needed, attach the corrected I-9 to the previous I-9.  Never discard an I-9 that's already been completed.
  • Store I-9s for current employees by year, in alphabetical order, in one place and for terminated employees, in chronological order, in a separate place.
  • Keep I-9s for inactive employees on file at least 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year from the date of separation, whichever is longer.
  • If Social Security issues a “no match” letter, take no action against the employee without first going through the error checking procedures.
  • Consider using programs that automate status checks, such as E-Verify.
  • Conduct an annual I-9 or HR Compliance Audit.  Have this done by a third-party firm or someone not involved in the day-to-day I-9 process.