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 can “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 under federal law.

Which Employers Are Required to Complete Form I-9?

All employers must complete Form I-9 for every team member they hire to work in the United States. Employees must also complete the form for it to be properly validated. Employees accomplish this by providing employers with predetermined documentation that establishes their identity and employment eligibility.

Additionally, employers must retain Form I-9 for three years after the date of an employee’s hire or one year after the date that employment ends, whichever occurs later.

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

USCIS identifies three different categories of documents that newly hired employees must provide to verify their identity, split into Lists A, B, and C. Documents that establish an employee’s identity and work authorization are included in List A while documents that only establish identity are included in List B and documents that only establish employment authorization are included in List C.

Workers who present a document from List A shouldn’t be required to present any additional documents. However, workers who choose not to present a document from List A must provide examples from both List B and List C together to receive authorization to work.

Examples of commonly accepted documents in List A include:

  • A U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Previous Permanent Resident Card with signature
  • Employment authorization document

Examples of commonly accepted documents in List B include:

  • Driver’s License
  • School ID card with a photograph
  • Voter registration card
  • U.S. military card or draft record

Examples of commonly accepted documents in List C include:

  • U.S. Social Security account number card
  • Native American tribal document
  • Certification of Report of Birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Form DS-1350)

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. 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, employers can utilize other forms of verification. This includes 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 various services 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).

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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