What Do I Need to Know About Form I-9?

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Form I-9 is used to verify the employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the U.S. Unlike most forms provided by USCIS, Form I-9 must be filled out by all employees in the U.S., including U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and all other individuals in nonimmigrant statuses.

Nationwide, various government agencies perform random audits on employers’ places of business to ensure compliance with federal immigration and labor regulations. Thus, the I-9 must be kept on file by the employer and must not be submitted to the government. During each audit, the government will scrutinize each form to determine whether the employer and employee have correctly completed the form.

While it is important to fill out every government form with care, it is especially critical that employers and employees complete the I-9 with utmost caution. The I-9 is riddled with very specific directions, and failure to comply with any of the directions can levy fines of up to $1,100 even for first-time offenses. Employers may also be exposed to criminal penalties for failure to comply.

The I-9 is composed of three parts. The first part is completed by the employee. It must be completed and signed by the employee no later than the first day of employment, but never before the employee has accepted a job offer.

Section 2 is completed by the employer or their authorized representative, who must first ensure that Section 1 has been properly completed by the employee. To complete Section 2, the employer must examine evidence of identity and employment authorization within three business days of each employee’s first day of employment. This includes physically examining each original document presented for authenticity. At this stage, both the employer and the employee must be present.

Section 3 must be filled out whenever the employer needs to re-verify that an employee is authorized to work, such as after re-hiring an individual or when an employee’s work authorization date is about to expire.

Employers must retain Form I-9 for either three years from the date of hiring an employee or one year after employment is terminated, whichever is later.

If you are an employer and would like to learn more about protecting your business from immigration-related liabilities, contact Berardi Immigration Law today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.

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