Form I-9


All new U.S. employees, including both U.S. citizens and non-citizens, must fill out a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, prior to the date of hire. Form I-9 requires an individual to prove his or her identity and authorization for employment when accepting a job with a new employer, and assists the U.S. government in precluding the unlawful hiring, recruiting, or referring for a fee, of aliens not authorized to work in the United States.

On Form I-9, the employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) that the employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine. Once the employer determines that the documents are genuine, the employer must then make sure that Form I-9 is properly completed before the individual begins employment. After an employee completes Form I-9, the employer must retain a copy of Form I-9 for each individual it hires for employment in the United States for certain amount of time.

In this article, we’ll go over the background information and document(s) required to fill out Form I-9, as well as some frequently asked questions about Form I-9.

Next, we’ll go over the required information and documents you’ll need to properly fill out Form I-9.

Requirements for Form I-9

As a new employee in the United States, you’ll have to provide certain background information and documentation to establish both your identity and employment authorization. For your documentation, you’ll be required to provide one (1) document from those identified under List A or one (1) document from List B and one (1) document from List C. The lists are provided on Form I-9, as created by the Department of Homeland Security, to assist in identifying eligible individuals for employment.

In particular, you’ll have to provide the following background information and documentation to properly complete the Form I-9:

Background Information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number (if you have one)
    • An employee does not have to provide his or her Social Security number in Section 1 of Form I-9, unless he or she is employed by an employer who participates in E-Verify (as discussed in the FAQs page).
  • Your signature

Documentation of Your Identity

You’ll have the option to provide either:
  • one (1) document from List A; or
  • one (1) document from List B and one (1) document from List C
List A documents include:
  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)
  • Foreign passport that contains a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa
  • Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph of you (Form I-766)
  • In the case of a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer incident to status, a foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A bearing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien’s nonimmigrant status, as long as the period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations
  • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI
List B documents include:
  • Driver’s license or ID card issued by a State or other territory under United States possession as long as it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender height, eye color, and address
  • ID card issued by a federal, state or local government agency, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • School ID card with a photograph
  • Voter’s registration card
  • U.S. military card or draft record
  • Military dependent’s ID card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
  • Native American tribal document
  • Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
    • For individuals under the age of 18:
      • School record or report card
      • Clinic, doctor, or hospital record
      • Day-care or nursery school record
List C documents include:
  • Social Security Account Number card other than the one that specifies on the face that the issuance of the card does not authorize employment in the United States
  • Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545)
  • Certification of Report of Birth issued by the Department of State (Form DS-1350)
  • Original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority, or territory of the United States bearing an official seal
  • Native American tribal document
  • U.S. Citizen ID Card (Form I-197)
  • Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179)
  • Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security
Next, we’ll go over some common questions to keep in mind when dealing with Form I-9.

FAQs for Form I-9

Here are some common questions when completing Form I-9:

Is there a filing fee for Form I-9?

Do employers file Form I-9 with a government agency?
No. Employers do not file Form I-9 with any government agency. Instead, employers must keep their Form I-9s and make them available in the event an authorized U.S. government official requests them.

What U.S. government officials may request Form I-9?
Pursuant to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Pub. L. 99-603 (8 U.S.C. 1324a), authorized U.S. government officials with the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Labor, and Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices may request Form I-9 from an employer.

Can employers specify which document(s) they will accept from an employee in filing out Form I-9?
No. Employers may not specify which document(s) an employee may provide. Rather, the employee may choose the document(s) he or she wants to provide to the employer.

May an individual begin employment with an employer prior to filing out Form I-9?
No. An individual must first complete Form I-9 prior to beginning employment with an employer.

May an employer electronically verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees?
Yes. Go to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services E-Verify link

Can employers accept expired documents to verify employment authorization?
No. Employers cannot accept expired documents to verify employment authorization, e.g. expired passports. However, employers may accept a document containing no expiration date, such as a Social Security card.

How long must an employer retain an employee’s Form I-9?
Employers must retain completed Form I-9s for three (3) years after the date of hire or one (1) year after the date employment ends, whichever is later.

Next, we’ll wrap up this article with a few points to keep in mind.


In this article, we went over the purpose, general requirements, and some common questions in dealing with Form I-9. If you download Form I-9, you’ll see that it is fairly simple to complete. Finally, make sure to sign Form I-9 once you complete it.

Other questions may arise when dealing with Form I-9. If you have any further questions or concerns as an individual or employer regarding Form I-9, please review the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website at: You may also want to contact your local counsel for any other concerns that the website does not address.

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