Checklist for an I-9 Self Audit

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Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, is required under federal law and must be completed by employers for all new hires after November 11, 1986. The purpose of the I-9 form is to verify that the employee is legally allowed to work in the United States, per the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An employer who does not have complete I-9 forms on file for employees may be subject to criminal and civil penalties.

Verify Form Information

All of the employee's personal information should be filled out completely on the I-9 form and match data from the company's personnel records. If the employee is an alien authorized to work until a certain date, the date must be entered on the form. The full name, Social Security number, address and date of birth of the employee must be entered on the I-9. If the employee does not yet have a Social Security number, "None" should be checked on the form.

The section where the employee attests to his citizenship status needs to have the appropriate box checked, and the I-9 must be signed and dated by the employee.

Sometimes, the employee may use a professional or non-professional translator such as a relative or friend to assist the employee in filing out the form. This person must have completed and signed the "Translator/Preparer" section of the I-9. The primary purpose of this signature is to document when an employee receives some sort of assistance in completing their citizenship information. It also provides an extra layer of safeguarding against fraud, since the translator must attest under penalty of perjury that the information given in the form is true and correct.

The Documentation Check

The employee must provide either one document from "List A" on the form or one document each for "List B" and "List C" to the employer for examination. The document types for each list are specified on the instructions for the I-9 form. List A items include a passport and permanent resident card; List B documents include a driver's license and school ID card; and List C documents include a birth certificate and Social Security card.

The I-9 form should be checked to ensure sufficient documents were presented and the employer marked the type, expiration date and any numbers listed on the documents given. It's up to the employer to examine the documents and determine whether they appear to be genuine.

Validate Employer Certification and Reverification

The employer certification section of the I-9 form, which attests to the verification of the employee's documents, must be completed and dated. Timing is critical here, since the I-9 form should have been completed within three days of the employee's hire. The forms must be made available for inspection by U.S. government officials, if requested.

If the employee was an alien authorized to work until a specific date or quit and was rehired, the I-9 must be updated to reflect re-authorization. Section 3 of the I-9 must be completed by the employer and include the rehire date or the new document that extends the work authorization.