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I-9 Form | Employment Eligibility Verification

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I-9 Form | Employment Eligibility Verification

Updated December 05, 2023

A Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) verifies an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States. The form contains sections for both the employee and the employer to fill out. It also requires an employee to provide certain documents, and the employer to verify that the documents are acceptable.

Table of Contents

What is an I-9 Form?

The purpose of Form I-9 is to prove that an employer and an employee have followed procedures for verifying an employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States. Unlike other government forms, it is not submitted anywhere. Instead, employers should retain the completed document in the event of an inspection by the DHS Department of Homeland Security or another government agency.[1]

TIP: An I-9 is required of all new W2 employees (independent contractors fill out a W9) working in the United States and territories regardless of immigration status.

2023 Edition

Beginning on November 1, 2023, only the updated 2023 I-9 will be accepted.[2] The new form is shorter, contains modified language, and is structured differently.[3] The form also contains changes related to an employer verifying required employee documents.

Required Documents

I-9 Required infographics

Form I-9 is intended to verify two things about an employee:

  • they are who they claim to be
  • they have the right to work in the U.S.

As part of the process of completing the form, employees must provide, and employers must examine, documents showing both of these things. Form I-9 includes three lists of documents that can be used for this purpose.[4] Except for a certified copy of a birth certificate, photocopies are not accepted.

 List A

List A contains documents that show both identity and employment authorization. Examples include:

  • A U.S. Passport
  • An approved Form I-765
  • A Permanent Resident Card

List B

List B documents only show identity. They may demonstrate that the employee is who they say they are, but not that the employee is authorized to work. Examples include:

  • A government-issued photo ID card or driver’s license
  • A school ID with a photo
  • A military ID

List C

List C documents that show the holder is allowed to work, but typically do not have photos and thus do not prove identity. Examples include:

  • An unrestricted Social Security Card
  • A birth certificate issued by a U.S.
  • Native American tribal document

Document Verification

Employees can meet the document requirement by showing either

  1. One document from List A; or
  2. One document from List B and one document from List C

Along with filling out their portion of Form I-9, employers must examine the documents. Employers cannot require or prefer one method over another.

Remote Verification

Employers formerly were required to examine an employee’s identity and eligibility documents in person. These rules were temporarily suspended in 2020, allowing employers to review the documents remotely.[5]

Although the suspension is no longer in effect, there are new regulations that create an alternative to physical document review.[6] The 2023 version of the form contains a box that employers may check indicating that an employee’s documents were reviewed remotely via live video. This ais only available to employers participating in the government’s e-Verify program.[7]

How to Fill Out (3 Steps)

  1. Employee Attestation and Documents
  2. Employer Information and Verification
  3. Retain Documents

1. Employee Attestation and Documents

The employee should fill in their section of the I-9 first. The question asking for the employee’s Social Security Number is optional unless the employer participates in the e-Verify program, in which case it is required. If a preparer and/or translator helped the employee with the form, they should fill out Supplement A located on the third page.

The employee must fill out this form before their first day of employment. Once the employee has filled out this section, the employee should present the identity and work eligibility documents discussed above to the employer within three business days of beginning employment.

2. Employer Information and Verification

The employer must inspect the employee’s documents and fill out their portion of Form I-9 no later than three business days after the employee’s first day. Employers are expected to verify two things when examining documents:

  1. Whether the employee’s documents reasonably appear to be genuine: Are the documents manufactured forgeries?
  2. Whether the documents reasonably appear to relate to the employee: Is the employee attempting to use documents belonging to someone else?

Once the documents have been verified, the employer should complete their portion of the form. As discussed above, List A documents can be sufficient on their own because they establish both identity and eligibility to work. But in some cases, one List A Document may require a combination of related documents presented together; in these instances, use the additional segments marked “(if any).”

3. Retain Documents

Once all sections of Form I-9 have been filled out and the employer has verified the documents, employers should retain a completed I-9 for the duration of an employee’s tenure. Once an employee is no longer working for the employer, the employer should retain the I-9 for at least one year after the employee’s last day, or three years after the employee began working, whichever is later.[8]

Employers are not permitted to retain an employee’s identity or work eligibility documents. If an employer has performed an in-person inspection of these required documents, making and retaining photocopies is optional. But employers that review documents remotely must make and retain copies of the employee’s identity and eligibility documents.


  1. Instructions for Form I-9 | U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  2. USCIS to Publish Revised Form I-9 | USCIS
  3. Summary of Changes to Form and Instructions | USCIS
  4. Form I-9 | USCIS
  5. DHS Announcements | Department of Homeland Security
  6. 88 CFR 47749 | Code of Federal Regulations
  7. Alternative Procedure for e-Verify Employers | USCIS
  8. Form I-9 Inspection | USCIS