Employment Eligibility Form
Employment Eligibility Form
Hiring a new employee can be both a stressful and exciting time for a business. On average, companies spend about $4,129 on each new hire. One of the first things to do when hiring an employee is complete an employment eligibility form.
This form is important for employment eligibility verification. Basically, the federal government needs to receive this form to make sure your new employee is either a U.S. citizen or a lawful resident.
The details surrounding a form I-9 can be daunting if you’re new to the process. Read on as we give you the complete rundown on I-9 form documents.
What Is an Employment Eligibility Form?
To understand what the employment eligibility form is, you’ll first need to know how it relates to federal law. The Department of Homeland Security has an agency called the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This agency is responsible for making sure that everyone in the United States is a lawful citizen. They also deal with immigration, legal and illegal. The USCIS requires that all businesses complete an employment eligibility form.
This is also known as an I-9 form. This form verifies employee identity, as the agency processes important documents such as:
- U.S. passports
- Resident cards
- Driver’s licenses
- Social security cards
- Birth certificates
There’s no getting around completing an I-9 form for new legal hires. Below, we’ll get into how you can complete this form without any hassles.
How to Complete an I-9 Form
There are a lot of details to cover when it comes to completing an I-9 form. For now, let’s start with the basics. The I-9 form has three different sections to complete.
The new employee will need to complete the first section. It’ll request information such as:
- Immigration status
- Citizenship status
- Personal information
If the employee needs a translator or preparer, they can add their signature to this section. All new hires need to fill out the first section by the hire date, or simply their first day.
After completing the first section, the employee will need to provide necessary documents to prove their employment eligibility.
The second section is for either the employer or an authorized representative. The employer should complete it within the first three days from the employee’s hire date.
The employer must first check the first section to see that it’s accurate. Then, they must sit with the employee, examine their documents, and follow these steps:
- The employer must determine if the documents are acceptable according to the “List of Acceptable Documents” from the USCIS
- The employer must physically examine each document to make sure it’s authentic
- The employer must enter the documents’ information into the second section
- The employer must sign and date the second section
The third section is for rehires and re-verification. If you rehire a previous employee within three years, you’ll have the option to reuse their I-9 form and documents.
Otherwise, they’ll need to complete another employment verification form and restart the process.
What are the I-9 Required Documents?
There are several types of documents you’ll need to provide when submitting an employment eligibility form. In the second section of the form, the employer is responsible for verifying each document.
There are three types of documents the USCIS accepts. You can find these documents in Lists A, B, and C.
List A: Documents That Establish Identity and Employment Authorization
These are documents that are absolute in verifying both a person’s identity and employment eligibility. Only one of these documents is needed.
These documents include:
- U.S. passport
- Permanent resident card or “green card”
- Alien registration receipt card
- Foreign passport with a temporary I-551 stamp
- Form I-766 or employment eligibility form
List B: Documents That Establish Identity
The documents in List B are used to solely verify an employee’s identity. If the employee doesn’t have a document from List A, they must provide one document from both List B and C.
The documents in List B include:
- Driver’s license or identification card
- School identification card (with a photograph)
- U.S. military card
- Voter’s registration card
Minors under the age of 18 can still complete this document without any of these documents. Instead, they can provide documents like a school report card or hospital record.
List C: Documents That Establish Employment Eligibility
The documents found in List C prove that an employee is eligible to work in the United States, whether they’re a native citizen or not. These documents include:
- Social security card
- Birth certificate
- Native American tribal document
- U.S. identification card
How to Send an I-9 Form to Employees
Again, completing an employment eligibility form is required by the federal government. Luckily, it’s simple to get the form and send it to new employees.
Here are three ways to can request an I-9 form from an employee:
1. Send the Form Digitally for Free
Now it’s possible to send I-9 forms to new employees on the internet. You can use plenty of online platforms that can collect digital signatures. Best of all, a lot of platforms don’t charge a fee.
2. Download and Print the Form
If you prefer to leave a paper trail, you can download the official I-9 form and print it. You can get the form from the USCIS website. This way, you can make as many copies as you want after signature.
3. Pay for the eSignature Software
If you run a large business, you’ll need to request a lot of I-9 forms for new hires. This may stretch the limits of free eSignature software. Luckily, you can choose a premium eSignature software for all your HR needs.
What Is E-Verify?
As an employer, you don’t have to take every document at face value. If you want to avoid penalties in hiring non-eligible people, you should do your due diligence in making sure all I-9 documents are authentic.
The good news is that you can use the federal government’s E-Verify database to check their documents. This portal verifies all documents using information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Again, using this system is completely optional. However, certain employers like federal contractors are required to use E-Verify. You may also be required to use this system depending on the state you live in.
Clearly, verifying the I-9 documents for every new employee can be very time-consuming. At https://workbright.com/, you can rely on I-9 E-verify integration to get the job done smoothly.
When Is Reverification Necessary?
Completing the I-9 form for new employees doesn’t totally end the verification process. If the employee’s documents expire, you’ll be required to collect a new one and start the process over.
For example, let’s say that you hired an employee with a valid work visa. Once the visa expires and they’re still employed, you’ll need to check with the employee to ensure one of the following:
- They have a new work visa
- They’ve received full citizenship
- They have some other authorized form for employment eligibility
As you can see, checking employment eligibility is an ongoing process if you don’t hire a natural U.S. citizen. Failing to monitor the situation can cost you a lot of money in the long run.
How to Verify I-9 Forms for Remote Employees
An I-9 form can be completed by an employee anywhere. That employee doesn’t have to complete the form in the presence of the employer. They also don’t have to be present during the verification process.
However, the verification process can be a bit different for employers when it comes to remote hires. If you’re hiring a lot of remote employees, you can request for another person to fill the second and third sections of the I-9 form on your behalf.
This person can be a:
- Public notary
- Personnel officer
Fortunately, you don’t have to sign any documents designating this person to be your proxy. Still, you’ll be liable if there are any illegal mistakes that happened during the verification process.
No matter what, the person reviewing the I-9 documents must do so in person. The laws tend to vary depending on the state you do business in.
For example, in California, the person verifying the I-9 documents must be bonded and certified as an immigration consultant. This law even applies to public notaries.
How to Prevent Discrimination During the Verification Process
Believe it or not, there are laws that actually prevent employers from discriminating against people during the employment verification process. However, what defines as “discrimination” can be confusing.
Specifically, The Immigration and Nationality Act prohibits employers from:
- Requesting I-9 documents before a job offer has been accepted by the employee
- Refusing to hire an employee because their I-9 documents will expire soon
- Denying a legitimate I-9 document
- Requesting different documents not listed by the USCIS
If someone feels like they have been discriminated against on this basis, they can file a claim with the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER). Employers can’t file a counterclaim once the process moves forward.
All they can do is defend themselves against the claim and provide evidence to clear their names.
How Can I Regularly Keep I-9 Compliance?
Again, you’re not just responsible for collecting I-9 forms. According to the USCIS, you must follow the rules when storing, retaining, and updating these forms over time. Here is everything you need to know about these responsibilities:
Storing I-9 Forms
Legally, you can store I-9 in a number of different ways: on paper and digitally. While it’s not required, you should make copies of all the documents you receive.
You are required to make copies of any identification documents that contain photos. All in all, these forms must be readily available to the:
- Department of Labor
- Department of Homeland Security
- Department of Justice
These forms must be presented to any of these agencies within three days of request.
Retaining I-9 Forms
Employers must keep I-9 forms for at least three years. If the employee has been terminated, they can keep them for one year. You’re only required to hold on to employer and employee information.
Updating I-9 Forms
It’s totally up to you to keep track of your I-9 forms. You’re also responsible for reaching out to employees when re-verification is necessary.
Finally, the employer should place their initials when corrections are made. If you fail to do this, you may face:
- Criminal penalties
- Court orders
- Hefty fines
Common I-9 Form Submission Issues
I-9 forms are taken very seriously by the federal government. Yet, so many businesses make mistakes during the verification process. Here are some of the most common errors to avoid:
It’s up to the employer to make sure that all the information in the I-9 forms is correct. Spelling errors and misstatements can cause problems down the line.
Basic Information Errors
Because of this, businesses should regularly check their I-9 forms before sending them in.
Requesting Other Documents
The employer must allow the employee to choose whatever documents they want from the “List of Acceptable Documents”. While you can deny documents that look unauthentic, it’s illegal to ask for more information.
If you’re asking an employer to submit a document not found in the “List of Acceptable Documents”, you could face legal trouble.
Giving Out Unnecessary I-9 Forms
I-9 forms aren’t for everyone. You’re only required to request an I-9 form from a full-time employee working in the United States. Independent contractors and people living outside the country are exempt.
Handling Fake Documents
It’s important that you never overlook I-9 documents. People can buy fake IDs from street vendors, and they look completely legitimate. This means you can’t rely on the eye test to review I-9 documents.
Make sure you use E-Verify to check the validity of all I-9 documents. Even though it’s not required, it can save you the trouble of dealing with the federal government later.
Learn More Lifestyle Tips
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when completing an employment eligibility form. However, if you keep all of this information in mind, navigating the employment verification process should be a breeze.
Do you want to learn more lifestyle tips? If so, check out our blog for more helpful articles.