Regulations & Compliance

Form I-9: Avoid Common Mistakes

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Form I-9 helps employers to verify individuals who are authorized to work in the United States. Per federal regulations, employers must complete a Form I-9 for every new employee.

Employers who fail to properly complete Forms I-9 can be fined $110 for each missing or incorrect item on a form, up to $1,100 per form, even if the employee is legally authorized to work in the U.S.

The checklist for common mistakes below should assist you in completing Form I-9 properly.

Section 1: To be completed by the employee

  • Did the employee provide his/her full legal name?
  • Did the employee check one of the boxes indicating he/she is a U.S. citizen, a noncitizen national of the U.S., a lawful permanent resident or an alien authorized to work in the U.S.?
  • Did the employee sign and date the section? New employees must fill out the form on or before their first day of employment.

Note: Providing a Social Security number is voluntary for all employees unless the employer is participating in the USCIS E-Verify program.

Section 2: To be completed by the employer

  • Were the employee’s document(s) reviewed and entered under the appropriate list (A or B and C) including expiration dates (if any)?Was the document information written on the appropriate line?
  • Was the document information written on the appropriate line?
  • Did the employee provide documents that were current and valid (not expired)?
  • Was the hire date entered (first day employment begins)?
  • Did the verifier sign and date the section?  Employment eligibility must be verified within three business days of the hire date.

Section 3: To be completed by the employer only when applicable

This section is for updating and reverification. It should be left blank unless:

  • The employee has been rehired within three years.
  • The employee’s original authorization has expired and is being renewed.
  • The employee’s name has changed at the time of update or reverification. If this is the case, you must fill out Section A and request the new name.

If you should make a mistake on Form I-9, the appropriate way to correct the form is to line through the portions of the form that contain incorrect information, then enter the correct information. Initial and date your correction. White-out is not permissible. If you have previously made changes on Forms I-9 over correction fluid or tape, the USCIS recommends that you attach a note to the corrected Forms I-9 explaining what happened. Be sure to sign and date the note.

For more information or training opportunities, please contact Tilson at 800.276.3976.