How To Complete An I-9 Work Authorization
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How To Complete An I-9 Work Authorization

Hiring a worker is not done until an I-9 Form is completed. All employers have to use a form each time they hire a citizen or an immigrant alien to work in the United States.

Both hired workers and their employer do their part in completing the I-9 Form to check that the worker is authorized to work in the United States. Everything a citizen or an alien needs to prove they are fit to work is on the form.

Everyone fills out the form and signs before they take the opportunity to work.

1. Get an I-9 Form from U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The form is available online.

A printed form is available from the USCIS. Call or write by letter or e-mail to request a form.

The form can also be completed electronically by using the USCIS site online. The Department of Homeland Security has authorized the use and keeping of an electronic I-9.

Once the form is received, read the instructions.

2. Workers fill out part 1 at the time they are hired. The name, address and birth date are written in section 1. The worker, whether a citizen or an immigrant alien living or working in the United States, checks a box for their status that makes them fit to work.

3. Show proof of identity and work authorization to the hiring person at the company. The proof has to show the worker's identity and work authorization. One or two documents are used for proof. Citizens typically use a passport with a photograph or a drivers license and a social security card. Aliens use a green card (permanent resident card) or an alien registration card. All documents must not have expired.

The instructions that come with the form have a full list of documents an employer can accept.

Employers can not ask for a specific document. The worker has the choice of how to prove they are fit to work.

Photocopies of the documents used to check are kept with the Form I-9.

4. The hiring person examines the proof for the employer.

5. The person doing the hiring for the company fills out the employer's part, the second section on the I-9 Form. They have 3 business days after the worker's employment begins to examine the documents that prove identity and work authorization and complete the form. If a worker is hired for less than 3 business day, the I-9 must be completed by the employer at the time the worker begins their employment.

6. Sign and date the form. Each signs a certification after filling out their part. The employer keeps the I-9 Form on record. The I-9 documents each new employee can work in the United States.

The company keeps the form for three years after the date of hire, or if the worker ends employment before three years are up, for one year after the worker leaves.

There is no fee. The form is simply used by an employer to give them secure grounds for taking their worker at their word.


I-9 Form, Employment Eligibility Verification (Revised August 7 , 2009).

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