All employers in the United States are required to fill out an I-9 form. The I-9, also called the Employment Verification Form is a government-required document that employers are required to maintain, which guarantees a newly hired employee is legal to work within the United States. Both the employee and company are required to complete parts of the document. The employee is also required to provide proof of verification that they are in fact legal to work in the country. The I-9 form can be printed out and completed in hard copy form or done online in digital form.


Newly hired employees do not need to be United States citizens, but they do however need to be able to supply specific documents to their employer which prove that they are in fact legal to work here. The immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to ensure that all new hires are in fact legal. This is done by having them complete the I-9 Form. A second section on the document shall be completed and authorized by the employee within the first three days of beginning work. This section verifies that the employee has supplied correct information regarding their legal work status.

Keeping Records

Once the I-9 form is completed by both the employee and employer, it must be kept on record by the employer the entire time they are employing the individual. During this time the employer must also keep the form available for governmental authorities if they ever request the document. Employers should keep the form on record for at least one year after employment is terminated.

Verification Documents

The newly hired employee must provide documents which verify their work eligibility within the United States. The I-9 for has 3 categories of documents seperated into lists A, B, and C. List A indicates documents which can be presented without any other proof to verify the employees work eligibility, such as U.S. Passport. However, if the employee is going to present documents not listed in section A, then they must be able to provide an item from both list B and list C (such as driver's license and birth certificate).


If an employer does not follow the requirements of the I-9 form, they may be fined between $250 and $5,500 for each employee who is not in compliance. If the I-9 is not completed properly, the employer can be fined up to $1,100 per form. Immigration state that an employer can even be criminally prosecuted if they knowingly accept a falsified I-9 form. Employees are also subject to penalties relating to an I-9 form if they falsify information. They can face legal fines and even improsment under such circumstances.


Although the penalties and information available regarding the I-9 Form is easily accessible with the internet, a significant amount of employers are out of compliance with the law. They do not take the time to review the requirements of the I-9 and continue to hire employees without verifying the legality of their employment. The federal government is cracking down with heavier fines and enforcing penalties. Employers need to take the time to follow the guidelines listed in this article. The I-9 Employment Verification Form is neither complicated nor is it time-consuming and can be completed in just a few minutes by following the guidelines above with the new employee.