Required documents for I-9 verification
I-9 verification ensures that companies are only hiring employees who are authorized to work in the U.S., by requiring candidates to provide employers with specific documents that verify their identity and work eligibility.
There are several lists of documents that can be used for I-9 verification according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including:
1. List A: Documents that can verify both the identity and eligibility for legal work
The following documents can be used to verify both employment authorization and identity. This means that as an employer, you should only ask a candidate to present one of the following acceptable documents. Make note that all documents must be unexpired.
- U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
- Alien Registration Receipt Card or Permanent Resident Card with photograph, also known as a Green Card (Form I-551)
- Foreign passport containing a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) containing a photograph (Form I-766)
- For nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer, a foreign passport and Form I-94 (or Form I-94A containing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien’s nonimmigrant status so long as the period of endorsement hasn’t expired and the proposed employment does not conflict with restrictions or limitations identified on the form)
- Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or I-94A
2. List B: Documents that only verify the identity for legal work
If any of the previously listed documents are unavailable, a new hire would need to provide two separate documents, which could include one of the following List B documents in addition to one of the documents in List C.
- Driver’s license
- ID card issued by an outlying possession or state of the U.S. that includes a photograph and other information about the candidate’s identity such as name, gender, height, eye color, date of birth and address
- ID card issued by state, federal or local government agencies that contains a photograph and other information about the candidate’s identity such as name, gender, height, eye color, date of birth and address
- Voter’s registration card
- School ID card with a photograph
- U.S. military card or draft record
- U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
- Military dependent’s ID card
- Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
- Native American tribal document
3. List C: Documents that only verify the eligibility for legal work
If a candidate is not able to provide one of the documents in List A, one of the following documents must to be presented with a document from List B:
- U.S. social security card issued by the Social Security Administration that is unrestricted and does not have any of the following phrases indicating restriction on it:
- NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT
- VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION
- VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-240)
- Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (FORM FS-545)
- Certification of Report of Birth issued by the Department of State (Form DS-1350 or FS-545)
- Original or certified birth certificate issued by a county, state, municipal authority or outlying possession of the United States that bears an official seal
- U.S. Citizen ID Card (Form I-197)
- ID Card for the use of a Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179)
- Valid employment authorization document issued by the DHS
4. Document list for minors
Employees who are younger than 18 years of age and don’t have any of the above documents can provide one of the following documents instead:
- Report card or school record
- Hospital, clinic or doctor record
- Nursery school or daycare record
Best I-9 practices for HR
I-9 forms have to be accurately and correctly filed, and you must follow its directions exactly. Here is a list of best practices for HR regarding I-9 forms according to the USCIS:
- Hold your employees’ I-9 forms on file for at least three years after the employment period.
- Keep copies of all the documents provided by your employees.
- In case of any changes made to an employee’s I-9 form, modify them on the original form and note the date of the changes.
- Do not allow your employees to continue working if any of their documents have expired.
- Respond to timing guidelines if you receive a Social Security Administration no-match letter indicating that some of your employees have unverifiable social security numbers.
Stay updated with the latest information regarding I-9 forms by contacting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Form I-9 verification FAQs
Can an I-9 form be completed electronically?
Yes, Form I-9 can be completed electronically. In fact, it’s preferred to complete it electronically to avoid errors.
What is the deadline for employees for filing the I-9 Form?
According to the USCIS, employees are required to complete section 1 of the Form I-9 before their second day of employment.