Form I-9

HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.

Form I-9

What is Form I-9?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Form I-9 is used to “verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.”

In other words, Form I-9 confirms that your workers are authorized to legally work in the country.

Which Employers Are Required to Complete Form I-9?

All employers need to complete Form I-9 for every team member who’s hired to work in the United States. Employees must also complete the form for it to be properly validated. They can do this by providing employers with predetermined documentation that establishes their identity and employment eligibility.

What's Considered Acceptable Documentation to Verify Form I-9?

Appropriate Form I-9 documentation includes:

  • A U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
  • A permanent resident card or alien registration receipt card (Form I-551)
  • A driver’s license
  • A U.S. Social Security card

For a full list of acceptable documents, go to

What Are the Differences Between E-Verify and Form I-9?

With that in mind, there are a few key differences between E-Verify and the official form. These include:

  1. Form I-9 is mandatory for all employers while E-Verify is voluntary for most employers
  2. Form I-9 doesn’t require a Social Security number but E-Verify does
  3. Form I-9 doesn’t require a photo on identification documents but E-Verify does
  4. Only I-9 can be used to reverify expired employment authorization

Additionally, there are other forms of verification that employers can utilize, such as software that designates a trusted individual like a notary public to verify documents in person. Still, with social distancing measures in place, these solutions can present their own challenges, namely because the employee must also be present.

Can Employers Remotely Verify Form I-9?

Yes, employers can remotely verify Form I-9. While there are various services that digitally verify I-9s, USCIS uses E-Verify to remotely confirm employee eligibility for work in the U.S.

The free service matches the information provided by employees on their forms with records available to both the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

With this said, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), employees who were onboarded using remote verification—either during coronavirus or otherwise—*must report to their employer within three business days once normal operations resume.

Related Terms: Onboarding, Compliance

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