Foreign business worker

What is I-9 Verification?

  • Sep 23 2020

The United States government takes great care to try and prevent the employment of immigrants who are not authorized to work in the country. This is done to help ensure that foreign workers are not exploited by U.S. employers. It is also done in the name of protecting jobs for U.S. workers who are authorized to work. One precaution put in place to help ensure that only those individuals legally authorized to work in the U.S. are employed by a certain employer is through I-9 verification.

What is I-9 Verification?

The Employment Eligibility Verification, or Form I-9, is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) form mandated pursuant to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The form is used to verify both the identity and legal authorization to work of all compensated employees in the U.S. All U.S. employers are required to ensure that Form I-9 is properly completed for every individual they hire to be employed in the U.S. This is true whether the employee is a citizen or a noncitizen. Both the employer, or an authorized representative of the employer, and the employee must complete Form I-9.

On Form I-9, an employee is required to attest to his or her employment authorization. Additionally, the employee is required to supply the employer with certain documents accepted as evidence of the employee identity and employment authorization. There is a list of acceptable document evidence that can be found on the last page of the I-9 form. The employer is tasked, in turn, with reviewing the identity and employment eligibility documents submitted by the employee in order to determine whether the documents reasonably appear to be legitimate. The employer must record the document information provided on Form I-9.

In regards to Form I-9 verification, employers are subjected to several requirements. Employers must have a properly completed Form I-9 on file for every person on their payroll who is required to complete Form I-9. These forms must be retained by the employer for a designated period of time. This means that the employer must retain and store a Form I-9 for three years after an employee is hired, or for one year after employment is terminated, whichever is the later of the two. The retained forms must be made available for inspection upon a request from authorized government officers including those from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor.

An employer’s failure to comply with these requirements may result in penalties prescribed by the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Such penalties may include:

  • Imprisonment or fines for making false statements or presenting false documents used in the completion of a Form I-9.
  • Fines ranging from $250 to $5,5000 per worker for an employer who hires an unauthorized worker.
  • An employer barred from federal government contracts for a year for hiring an unauthorized worker
  • Fines of $110 or up to $1,100 per missing Form I-9 for employers who fail to retain proper records, even if an employee is legally authorized to work in the U.S.

These penalties are serious and can wreak havoc on a business. Be sure that you, as an employer, are in compliance at all times. ICE regularly conducts I-9 audits.

Immigration Attorney

Should you have any questions about employment authorization in the U.S., talk to Talamantes Law Firm. We are here to help. Contact Talamantes Immigration Law Firm today.


Posted in: Immigration Law