Valid Forms of ID for the I-9

As set forth in the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act, employees applying to work at businesses in the United States must fill out a Form I-9, which helps establish identity and eligibility to work. This federal form requires basic information from employees as well as one or more of valid forms of ID that attest to the employee’s identification. Employers are then responsible for reviewing the documents in good faith for authenticity.

The entire process can sound deceptively simple, but many employers struggle in particular with questions about valid forms of ID for I-9s. To help companies navigate this aspect of the Form I-9 and others, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services created a roughly one-hundred-page manual. While this resource can be of assistance, many companies are also enlisting the help of digital I-9 software for paperless solutions that help save time and minimize human error.

 

Valid Forms of ID for the I-9

The second section of the Form I-9 is the part that deals most directly with valid forms of ID. Depending on the unique circumstances of each employee, one or more documents proving identification from Lists A, B, or C may be required.

The primary purpose of List A documents is to establish identity and employment authorization. Some of the documents employees can choose to present from this list include:

  • United States Passport or United States Passport Card.
  • Foreign Passports. This type of identification should be presented with required forms, proper notations, and stamps.
  • Permanent Resident Card. These are sometimes referred to as “green cards” and must not have expired to be considered valid. This card usually has a signature unless marked with the official notation of “signature waived.”
  • Previous Permanent Resident Card. This form of ID typically requires a signature unless it is marked with the official designation of “signature waived.”
  • Previous Employment Authorization Document. To be acceptable, this official document cannot be expired.
  • Employment Authorization Card. This card must not have expired to be considered valid.

The primary purpose of List B documents is to simply establish identity, and most employees who present a document from List B will also need to present a document from List C. Some of the valid forms of ID for I-9s on List B can include:

  • Driver’s License. To be valid, the license must be from the United States or one of its outlying territories. It must display a photo or detailed personal description and address and must not be expired.
  • ID Card Issued by a State or Outlying Territory of the United States. This form of ID often requires the employee provide additional information.
  • Voter Registration Card.
  • Federal, State, or Local Government Agency or Entity ID. These forms of identification must be official and may require additional information.
  • United States Military Card or Draft Record.
  • Military Dependent’s ID Card.
  • ID For Minors. For most minors, identification in the form of an official medical record, a school record, or a report card will suffice.

List C documents generally show identity and authorization to work in the U.S. and are presented in tandem with one or more List B documents. Valid forms of ID for I-9s regarding List C generally include:

  • S. Social Security Account Number Card. This card must be unrestricted, meaning it must not say “not valid for employment” or “valid for work only with…”
  • United States Citizen ID Card.
  • Original or Certified Copy of Birth Certificate Issued by a State, County, Municipal Authority, or Outlying Territory of the United States. To be valid, this certificate must bear an official seal.
  • Certification of Birth Abroad. This certification should be issued by the U.S. Department of State to be valid.
  • Certification Report of Birth. This certification must also be issued by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States.
  • Native American Tribal Document.

 

How to Examine Valid Forms of ID for the I-9

As long as an employee provides sufficient documentation that sensibly gives the impression of being genuine, relates to that specific employee, and is listed as an acceptable document on List A, B, or C of the Form I-9, employers may accept the documentation.

If an employee presents a document from List A, B, or C that does not appear to be genuine or relating to the employee, employers can reject the document and ask the employee for a different form of ID as specified by the Form I-9, but must not be discriminatory in doing so.

 

Digital I-9 Software and I-9 Documents

When it comes to organizing valid forms of ID for I-9s, digital I-9 software can help to organize and streamline the process. Some of the ways digital I-9 software can help employers manage valid forms of ID for I-9s include:

  • Software should provide employees with an advance list of the questions and fields that must be answered on the Form I-9. This allows employees to adequately prepare so Form I-9 timelines can be met. Employers should also receive a checklist to keep the form process on task.
  • Action Reminders. The software program usually assists in keeping track of expired identification documents and should prompt employers with an action alert if an expiration date is impending.
  • Paperless Solutions. Perhaps one of the best features of digital I-9 software is its ability to digitize and archive documents. This method is key in providing centralized reporting abilities.

 

By learning more about the valid forms of ID for I-9s, employers can feel confident in the process and rely on digital I-9 software to assist with compliance.

How to Handle an Ice Audit

With the incidence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite investigations estimated to have quadrupled in recent years and the number of Form I-9 audits and audit-related arrests estimated to have also increased, it is more important than ever for employers to be able to prepare for and know how to handle an ICE audit.

Since the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the federal government requires employers to have all employees complete a Form I-9 to help establish identity and authorization to work within the United States. Federal law agencies such as Homeland Security, of which ICE is a part of, also have the right to announce an audit or conduct a raid to review an employer’s Form I-9 procedure and overall compliance.

However, employers who are well versed in proper Form I-9 protocol and how to handle an ICE audit should have more peace of mind in the event that the company receives a Notice Of Inspection (NOI).

 

Ice Audits and the Form I-9

According to federal law, ICE is responsible for enforcing I-9 compliance mandates through the Homeland Security Investigations Division, which can also be referred to as the Worksite Enforcement Unit. While Homeland Security is responsible for overseeing a number of domestic and international situations, audits for I-9 compliance are a small but serious portion of the organization’s job.

In recent years, the number of audits are said to have increased so dramatically that the organization has had to pull in a number of employees for additional help during times when there is a high surge of activity. This situation alone should be enough motivation to propel a company to be proactive in being Form I-9 compliant.

 

What can trigger an I-9 audit?

One of the most common questions employers ask is, “How likely am I to be subjected to a compliance audit?” More often than not, the answer to that question depends on:

  • Credible Tips. Whether a tip is submitted via phone or online, it is typically first examined for credibility. It is not unusual for Homeland Security to receive a tip from a current or former disgruntled employee or even a disgruntled competitor.
  • Previous Audits. It is not uncommon for companies that have been previously audited to also have a follow up visit. Employers who have already experienced one Form I-9 audit should follow all of the investigator’s recommendations in preparation for what could become audit number two.
  • Red Flag From a Government Agency. In some cases another government agency could red flag a company if there is concern related to something like wage investigation or a company being an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.
  • Mismatch Letter Receipt. Companies that receive a letter from the Social Security Administration acknowledging that a social security number does not match a person’s name could eventually be subjected to an audit. In many cases a mismatch letter can simply be the result of human error.

Regardless of what triggered the audit, employers receiving a NOI should be prepared to turn over Form I-9 documents to the federal government to prove compliance.

 

Form I-9 Violation Consequences

If a company is audited there are several key things that investigators will be looking for, which may include:

  • A completed Form I-9 for all current employees
  • Adherence to Form I-9 deadlines
  • Proper Form I-9 protocol

After a review of these primary areas, investigators may then assign fines or other consequences for violations that are civil or criminal in nature.

Civil fines generally related to incomplete forms, missing signatures, and missed deadlines can be as high as several thousand dollars per offense.

Consequences for criminal violations such as patterns of knowingly hiring undocumented individuals or harboring individuals in the U.S. could result in heavy fines, loss of workforce, or loss of a business license. Additional areas that could result in damaging consequences may include criminal violations such as perjury, VISA fraud, identity fraud, identity theft, tax fraud, or mistreatment of workers.

 

How to Handle an ICE Audit

One of the best ways to handle an ICE audit is preparation. With the number of worksite investigations on the rise, every company should be making every reasonable effort to get its Form I-9 protocol in order. While the process can sound daunting, resources such as digital I-9 software may be able to help.

Digital I-9 software typically offers users the following features:

  • Printable checklist for employees to get familiar with the information that will be requested the first day of work
  • Printable checklist for employers to help keep track of an employee’s Form I-9 progress
  • Error Alerts for blank fields, incomplete fields, and missing signatures
  • Document expiration alerts for documents that are set to soon expire
  • Document archiving guidance
  • Centralized reporting that can provide compliance reports at any time
  • Audit assistance

Once a firm I-9 compliance resource is in place, it is crucial to train management. Fortunately, most digital software programs are designed to be user-friendly and require minimal training for proper use.  From that point on, it is crucial that the employer maintains consistency in management, including holding regular training on Form I-9 protocol and periodic training management on digital I-9 software for current and new management alike.

 

By learning what typically prompts an audit, what ICE looks for in an audit, and how to handle an ICE audit with digital I-9 software, employers can be better equipped and prepared to achieve and maintain compliance.

How Do You Fill Out an I-9 Form

One of the most frequently asked questions of employers and employees alike is, “How do you fill out an I-9 form?” The question does not yield a short answer, but by learning more about the I-9 form and resources available to help with the form’s completion, the process of filling out the form can be both manageable and efficient.

 

What is an I-9 form?

Before learning how to fill out the Form I-9, it is helpful to know its origins and understand why it is important. The Form I-9 is a byproduct of the Immigration Reform and Control Act passed in 1986. This form was essentially designed by the federal government to verify an individual’s identity and eligibility to work within the United States.

 

Are employees required to fill out the Form I-9?

It is the law for employers to have employees complete a Form I-9. All employees working in the United States are required to fill out a Form I-9 to prove eligibility authorization. As soon as an employer offers a job to an individual, the employee can begin filling out the Form I-9. The employer is responsible for getting the form to the employee and ensuring that the individual properly completes it within the form’s allotted deadlines.

 

How can I get a Form I-9?

Many employers may already have a blank Form I-9 on hand, but it can also generally be found online at the website for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and may be downloaded to your computer.

 

How do you fill out an I-9 form?

The Form I-9 is comprised of three main sections. Each section requires a different set of information or documentation and has a unique deadline. In order to be compliant, employers must ensure that all three sections are completed properly and on time.

Section 1

The first section of the Form I-9 is generally used for establishing the identity of the employee. For the purpose of this section, employees are typically asked to provide basic information such as:

  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • Contact information
  • Social Security number

In addition to confirming the employee’s identity, this first section of the form is also designed to confirm the employee’s legal eligibility to work in the United States by proving:

  • Citizenship
  • Status of nonresident national of the United States
  • Lawful permanent residency
  • Authorization as an alien to work in the United States

As dictated by the form, this section must be completed by the employee’s first day of employment.

Section 2

Much of the second section of the form is the employer’s responsibility, and it involves the employee’s documentation. The Form I-9 has three lists of documents that are approved to use for this section:

  • List A Documents: The approved documents on this list generally establish an employee’s identity and employment authorization.
  • List B Documents: The approved documents on List B are used for establishing the identity of an employee. If an employee uses a document from List B, presenting a document from List C is also typically required.
  • List C Documents: The documents on this list are used to establish an employee’s work authorization in the United States. If presenting a document from List C, an approved document from List B is also usually required.

This section of the I-9 Form must be completed within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment. Employers are required to examine each document in good faith for authenticity. It is worth noting that perjury penalties can be assigned for knowingly presenting fraudulent documents.

Section 3

This last section of the form comes into play if an employee has a name change, a renewal of an expiring work authorization, or is a rehire within three years of the date on the original Form I-9. Employers are largely responsible for section three.

 

Additional Resources for Filling Out An I-9 Form

Employers who have specific questions about the Form I-9, questions about how to fill out an I-9 form, or the corresponding deadlines may wish to seek out additional resources to facilitate the process.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Handbook for Employers M-274 may be a good resource for employers. The manual is rather extensive and can typically be downloaded and printed for reference.

A user-friendly option that many employers are increasingly turning to is digital I-9 compliance software.  These software programs are created to guide employers through each step of how to fill out an I-9 form and help minimize common human errors made on the form. Reputable software programs should also be able to interface with the E-Verify program.

 

How Compliance Software Can Make Filling Out I-9 Forms Easier

Digital I-9 compliance software can provide an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for employers. It is specifically designed to be user-friendly, detail oriented, efficient, and can be particularly useful for employers with multiple office locations.

Some of the benefits of working with digital I-9 compliance software can include:

  • A digital and paperless solution
  • Minimization of commonly made human errors such as blank fields, incomplete fields, and missing signatures
  • Printable checklists for employees and employers to facilitate the Form I-9 process
  • Time-sensitive reminders regarding the deadlines of each section of the form
  • Document tracking to allow employers to update Form I-9 documents before they expire and become a roadblock to compliance
  • Document archiving reminders
  • Centralized reporting for audits

 

By enlisting the help of resources such as digital I-9 compliance software, learning how to fill out an I-9 form can be less stressful for employers and employees.

Q: Do all employees have to fill out a Form I-9 for employers?

A:  Yes, they do.

Q: Is there a program that helps fill out an I-9 form?

A:  Yes, employers may want to consider purchasing digital I-9 compliance software.

Q: Can you fill out an I-9 form electronically?

A:  Digital I-9 compliance software digitizes the Form I-9.

Q: Can the I-9 Form be completed before an employee starts work?

A:  Yes, as long as the employer has extended a job offer.

Q: What happens if an employer doesn’t have an I-9 form for an employee?

A:  The employer can be found not compliant and may be subject to punitive consequences.

Does E-Verify Cost Anything

Since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, employers are required to verify and authenticate their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. Since the passage of this law, employers’ responsibilities are numerous and deadline-oriented when it comes to the proper completion of the Form I-9. The process can be tedious, which is why businesses are increasingly utilizing additional resources such as E-Verify and digital I-9 compliance software that includes an E-Verify component.

E-Verify is a free web-based system created following the passage of the United States’ Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The goal of the system is to aid employers with the eligibility to work verification process by electronically matching an employee’s Form I-9 information against records accessible by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

An employer is often better prepared to be I-9 compliant by combining thorough research on the Form I-9 process and using additional resources such as E-Verify and digital I-9 compliance software.

 

How E-Verify Works

The E-Verify system uses the information provided by employees on the Form I-9 to verify the employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S. The I-9 form is a one-page legal document that is required to be completed by employees and employers via specific guidelines and deadlines.

There are three main sections of the Form I-9. The first section is almost entirely dedicated to employee information and attestation. By the first day of employment, employees must accurately complete the form and employers should verify that the employee completed the section correctly. The second section of the form requires an employee to provide the necessary Form I-9 documents, and the employer must examine and vouch for the apparent authenticity of the documents…all within three business days of an employee’s first day on the job. The third section is primarily reserved for the purpose of reverification and rehires. This section must be completed if an employee’s name has legally changed, he/she is rehired within three years of the date on the Form I-9, or the employee’s work authorization has expired.

Once the Form I-9 has been completed by an employee, the employer can utilize E-Verify with that information to ensure work eligibility. The E-Verify program is geared to be user friendly and is accessible via the internet. It is designed to simply enhance the Form I-9 process, not take the place of it.  To use the program to verify employee work eligibility, an employer must simply be officially enrolled.

E-Verify allows enrolled employers to verify each employees’ eligibility to work by electronically matching the Form I-9 information of employees to records accessible by both the SSA and the DHS. One of the bonuses of utilizing E-Verify is that it may even have access to a photo of an employee to compare with any photo identification he/she submitted to the employer. Photos can be an added layer of protection if provided by the E-Verify system.

In many cases, E-Verify can provide work authorization for employees in approximately twenty-four hours or less. However, in some cases a manual review of records within government databases may be required and could take an extended period of time. In this particular instance, E-Verify typically lets employers know if this is the situation and will then eventually follow up with the final results. If for some reason there is not a match on E-Verify, the system sends procedures to the employer on how to proceed with that particular employee.

Combining the E-Verify system and digital I-9 compliance software with the Form I-9 may be an employer’s best proactive effort when it comes to staying I-9 compliant.

A company’s I-9 compliance is evaluated during an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite investigation, which may or may not be announced in advance. Any I-9 violations can result in substantial consequences and penalties. Violations can be criminal or civil and carry a fine per employee. These fines can add up when multiple violations are found, and they may ultimately negatively impact a company’s bottom line.

 

Is E-Verify Required?

In many cases, a company’s enrollment in the E-Verify program is voluntary, however there are some exceptions to this rule. Employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that include the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to enroll. Businesses located within a state that mandates enrollment in E-Verify must abide by the law and do so. Some employers may also be legally required to enroll in the E-Verify program after a legal ruling is handed down.

The E-Verify program is currently available to all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.

An estimated 750,000 employers are thought to be registered with E-Verify, and twenty-two states currently require some type of participation.

While some companies choose to utilize the E-Verify system on their own, others who may experience a shortage of staff, time, and means often opt to hire an E-Verify employer agent to help them navigate the process. It is worth noting that these agents are not certified nor are their fees regulated by the government.

 

Benefits of an E-Verify Employer Agent

An E-Verify employer agent’s job is to work closely with a company and E-Verify to determine an employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S. In addition to federal law, these agents can also help companies comply with state laws.

In general, most E-Verify employer agents wear several hats and can assist companies with:

  • Determining an employee’s work eligibility
  • Conducting background checks for employees
  • Providing legal assistance and accounting services

 

Take some time to research the E-Verify program and consider if it is right for your company. Regardless of your decision, the goal is to keep your company Form I-9 compliant and hopefully avoid violations and expensive penalties.

HR Onboarding Software

Over the span of a year, American businesses collectively do hundreds if not millions of new hires that can be facilitated by HR onboarding software. This digital software helps overwhelmed employers and human resources departments simplify the Form I-9 component of the hiring process and provides an added measure of confidence in being compliant with government regulations.

The passage of the Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986 yielded a legal document, better known as the Form I-9, created to establish an individual’s identity and employment eligibility for working in the United States. Completion of this form is required of all employees who began working in 1987 and beyond.

Certain departments of the United States’ Homeland Security Department may conduct announced or unannounced Form I-9 audits at a business. Some audits may come with one- or two-days warning and others may come with no notice at all. During an audit, those businesses who are found not to be Form I-9 compliant can receive costly fines. Depending on the type of violation, businesses could be issued hefty fines, suffer a loss of workforce, or even the loss of a business license.

With the stakes so high, many businesses are doing everything they can to be compliant and prepared, often with the help of HR onboarding software.

 

What is HR onboarding software?

HR onboarding software, sometimes referred to as digital I-9 software, is designed to simplify and digitize the Form I-9 process. It assists employers with everything from preparation checklists to highlighting common errors to staying on top of Form I-9 deadlines that could potentially affect a company’s ability to be compliant. The software is an added resource in navigating the Form I-9 procedure that may provide employers with a more comprehensive peace of mind when it comes to preparing for potential audits.

 

HR Onboarding Software and the Form I-9

The Form I-9 may seem simple to navigate but can be more complex than it appears, especially when multiplied by numerous new hires for a business. Particularly because of the fast-paced deadlines associated with different sections of the Form I-9, it can be all too easy to make mistakes. HR onboarding software was created to help minimize common Form I-9 mistakes such as those below:

  • Form Inconsistencies. Missing and inaccurate Form I-9s can be reason for a company to be found not compliant. With HR onboarding software, missing forms become less of an issue when information is digitized and paperless. The software can also be instrumental in catching blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures on the form, mistakes of which can negatively impact a company’s Form I-9 audit.
  • Different sections of the Form I-9 have specific timelines for completion that can be easy for employers to miss when swamped with day to day responsibilities. Digital I-9 software is designed to provide helpful reminders to employers about upcoming deadlines.
  • Document Tracking. The Form I-9 requires employees to provide one or more identification documents to the employer. It is the employer’s responsibility to verify all collected documents.  HR onboarding software assists companies in tracking document collection.
  • Documentation Follow Up. If an employee’s documentation is set to expire during the course of their employment, it can be grounds for compliance issues if no measures have been taken to attain new proof of eligibility prior to the documents’ expiration. The software can aid employers with timely reminders about soon to be expired documents for employees.

 

Why use onboarding software?

HR onboarding software can be an asset when it comes to catching common Form I-9 mistakes like the ones listed above, but its benefits go far beyond that feature. The user-friendly software is designed to help streamline the Form I-9 process from start to finish to help businesses be compliant and maintain that status.

Depending on the provider, software programs may vary slightly in design, but employers can generally expect some of the following:

  • Digital System. By using digital Form I-9 software, employers can have access to a paperless solution. While cutting down on the number of papers associated with new hires is often desirable, it is usually even more so for employers who are juggling hiring at a company with multiple locations.
  • Preparation Checklists. The amount of information required on a Form I-9 on an employee’s first day of work can be overwhelming. To help employees be better prepared, many HR onboarding software programs provide an advance peek at what information will be required.  Employers should also have access to a checklist that helps keep the Form I-9 process moving forward with specific action items.
  • Form Assistance. The Form I-9 is a complex document that requires a number of information fields and signature lines to be completed. HR onboarding software can help employers catch human errors on the form such as blank or incomplete fields and missing signatures. It can also provide prompts to employers regarding expiring documents that require action to avoid compliance issues.
  • E-Verify Interface. Companies enrolled in the E-Verify program will appreciate the way it interacts with HR onboarding software. The two should work well together, allowing for the system to auto-populate, send important alerts, and flag open cases.
  • Flexible Reporting and Audit Support. One of the features of HR onboarding software used by diligent management is flexible reporting. This component of the program lets employers access reports at any time to assess compliance. In the case of an official audit, the software company should be able to provide auditors with details about specific operations and an audit trail as well as a mass printing of a business’ Form I-9 records and attachments.

 

The stakes for not being I-9 compliant can be costly, and that is why businesses are increasingly turning to HR onboarding software to help them navigate the pitfalls of staying compliant with an increased peace of mind.

Rehire Guide for Restaurants

As new federal and local government mandates are issued regarding the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many restaurants that have been forced to lay off workers are already grappling with how to be I-9 compliant as they anticipate quickly onboarding employees after the pandemic-related closures are lifted.

Differentiating between furloughs and layoffs, knowing if a Form I-9 and E-Verify is still required, and enlisting professional compliance assistance will help determine restaurant owners’ path forward. Understanding now how to rehire laid off restaurant employees will expedite the process when it is time to put a plan into action.

 

Rehiring: Furloughs vs. Layoffs

Although it is not uncommon to hear furloughs and layoffs in the same sentence, the two terms are entirely different in meaning and implication.

  • Furloughs: A restaurant who furloughs workers is asking employees to essentially take an unpaid leave of absence. This is a temporary arrangement that is typically made in hopes of having an employee return to their job again in the not so distant future. In some cases, employees that are furloughed may even be able to retain some of their health benefits. For employers, the most important distinction is that furloughed workers generally do not have to go through a formal rehiring process.
  • Layoffs: Restaurants who are forced to lay off staff are basically releasing employees from that particular place of employment. Unlike being furloughed, the act of being laid off is considered a permanent termination of employment including benefits. Depending on the amount of time an employee is laid off, those employees that choose to return to an employer are more likely to be required to endure the formal rehiring process, at least in part.

 

Will a Form I-9 and E-Verify still be needed for restaurant rehires?

While the coronavirus pandemic is causing some small changes to parts of the overall hiring process, as of April 2, 2020 the Form I-9 is still a requirement to being I-9 compliant, and those companies already required to use the E-Verify system must continue to do so.

As the pandemic continues and uncertainty looms, it is critical that restaurants keep a close eye on any potential changes to the rehiring process in order to stay I-9 compliant and avoid possible punitive consequences.

To be fined or punished for non-compliance would likely be detrimental for a restaurant still getting back on its feet in a post-coronavirus pandemic world.

 

What To Do When Rehiring Employees Within Three Years Of The Employees Original Start Date

Restaurants who intend to simply rehire laid off employees may have the advantage of less steps to walk through if the employees are being rehired within three years of the date on their original Form I-9.

If an employee is rehired within three years of the date listed on their original Form I-9, the employer has the option of relying on the previous Form I-9 or having the employee complete a new one.

Employers who choose to rely on an employee’s previous Form I-9 (completed in the three years since the date on their original form), are still required to follow several additional guidelines:

  1. Employees that remain employment authorized as indicated on the original Form I-9 are not required to provide new documentation. In this case, employers must complete Section Three of the original Form I-9, sign, and date it.
  2. Employees whose employment authorization has expired must have their employment authorization re-verified via Section Three of the Form I-9. Employers should note that Section Three on the current version of the Form I-9 must be filled out. Filling out Section Three on older versions of the Form I-9 are not acceptable.
  3. Employees that have a Form I-9 with Section Three already completed must complete the same section on a new form and keep it attached to the existing Form I-9 paperwork.

 

Rehiring Employees After Three Years From The Employee’s Original Hire Date

Restaurants who are hoping to rehire employees that have an original Form I-9 date that is older than three years from today’s date, are required to complete a Form I-9.

In other words, an employer that is rehiring an employee that has worked for them for more than twenty years must still require that employee to fill out a new Form I-9.

 

How Lookout Services Can Help

Rehiring an employee at any point can be time consuming from a compliance standpoint. However, with the added urgency of reopening a restaurant post-coronavirus pandemic, the work involved to rehire and stay I-9 compliant can be somewhat overwhelming.

With more than twenty years of experience, Lookout Services is uniquely positioned to help restaurants meet the challenges of the rehiring process via digital I-9 compliance software which offers the following benefits:

  • A facilitated process that often saves time
  • A digital I-9 solution
  • Minimization of common Form I-9 errors including blank fields, incomplete fields, and missing signatures
  • Printable checklists for employers and employees
  • Time sensitive notices regarding multiple Form I-9 deadlines
  • Document tracking and archiving
  • Centralized reporting

 

If you are anticipating rehiring your restaurant employees post-coronavirus and require guidance on how to quickly onboard workers while still maintaining I-9 compliance, we hope you will consider enlisting Lookout Services as one of the newest members of your team.

I-9 Compliance For Mass Hires

While the spread of the coronavirus is causing some of the highest unemployment rates the nation has seen in years, many essential industries such as grocery retail, delivery services, and pharmacies are ramping up their hiring processes to accommodate the fast onboarding of staff. However, even in this time of crisis, companies must still maintain I-9 compliance for mass hires.

In addition to the increased pace of hiring which can be taxing for human resources departments, employers are now struggling to manage the Form I-9 process with some small changes brought about by these unprecedented times amidst the coronavirus pandemic. If your company is onboarding employees now, it is crucial to be familiar with the I-9 compliance process to protect yourself against future violations.

 

The Most Common Challenges for I-9 Compliance for Mass Hires

Even though some local offices of a company may be actively working, their corporate offices could be working remotely, which can be tricky when it comes to completing a hire that is Form I-9 compliant.  Some of the most common challenges for I-9 compliance for mass hires during coronavirus can include the ability for:

  • Employees and employers to fill out the Form I-9, specifically sections two and three
  • Employees to present employment authorization documents in person, face to face
  • Employers to review authorization documents in person for authenticity

 

Temporary Guidelines For Companies Operating Remotely That Wish To Hire

If an entire company’s workforce is working remotely during this difficult time, as of April 2020, they may have some flexibility regarding the inspection of authorization documents. It may be possible to virtually examine an employee’s authorization documents via fax, web-based conferencing, or a video call and consider them valid if:

  • The entire company is working remotely
  • The remote work policy is documented in house and with the Department of Homeland Security
  • The virtual method of inspection is documented on the Form I-9, specifically on sections two and three
  • A proper in person review of the employee’s authorization documents is done within three days following the expiration of the COVID-19 national emergency and is documented as such

As of April 2020, the virtual review of employment authorization documents is valid only until May 19, 2020 or three days after the national emergency is lifted. It is important to note that the coronavirus national emergency is a somewhat fluid situation, so it is crucial for employers to be certain what the hiring rules are at the time of hire to prevent being assigned noncompliance violations at a later date.

 

 

Temporary Guidelines For Companies Still Operating Regularly In Part That Wish To Hire

The rules are somewhat different for companies that are still operational, in part, with open offices.  While these companies may have flexibility in terms of selecting third-party authorized representatives to review an employee’s authorization documents, documents may not be reviewed virtually.

As of April 2020, employers that have at least one open office must still present employee authorization documents in person. However, an employer may temporarily be allowed to designate a third-party as an official authorized representative to review authorization documents and complete the Form I-9 in person.

Employers should be aware that federal and state guidelines regarding third-party designations may be different. For example, while a federal guideline may allow for a third-party to be designated as seen fit, some states require the third-party to have additional qualifications such as being a public notary.

 

I-9 Compliance Consequences

Despite the unique hiring challenges businesses across the nation are currently facing, the hiring process is to be taken seriously. Hiring companies may still be held liable for I-9 compliance violations made during the coronavirus pandemic, even those committed by a designated third-party.

 

Reducing Compliance Risks For Employers Amidst The Coronavirus Pandemic

While the need may be extreme for many companies to do mass hires to effectively serve the public, they are and will be held to federal I-9 compliance standards. To help combat possible overwhelming pressure on an employer’s human resources department during an already chaotic time, it may be worth enlisting the help of a compliance professional.

Lookout Services has more than twenty years of experience in assisting employers with onboarding employees in regard to proper I-9 compliance. In addition to their professional and knowledgeable staff, Lookout Services also offers digital I-9 compliance software which features the following:

  • Checklists for employees so they can review, in advance, the items needed to complete a Form I-9
  • Checklists for employers to keep each new employee on task in completing the Form I-9
  • A paperless, digital solution
  • Form deadline alerts for employers
  • Minimization of common Form I-9 errors such as blank spaces, incomplete fields, and missing signatures
  • The ability to track expiring documents and alert employers accordingly before it becomes a compliance issue
  • Assistance with document archiving
  • Centralized reporting
  • An optional interface with the federal E-Verify program complete with auto-population of E-Verify fields
  • Audit assistance such as mass prints of I-9 records and attachments

 

Don’t let a hasty mass hiring process put your company at risk for punitive consequences down the line. Consider a consultation with Lookout Services today to keep your company I-9 compliant through the pandemic and beyond.

How To Stay I-9 Compliant During Pandemic Related Closures

Employers that are hiring in the midst of these uncertain times are struggling with how to stay I-9 compliant during pandemic related closures. Many of these closures are affecting the validity of employee authorization documents and how employers can document special COVID-19 document extensions. By enlisting the help of a company that provides professional I-9 compliance guidance, employers may be better able to navigate the winding road ahead.

 

COVID-19 Temporary Guidelines For Hiring

As some companies continue to hire employees during these pandemic related closures, staying I-9 compliant is proving to be a challenge. To make things even more confusing there can be subtle differences on compliance rules depending on if a company’s entire workforce is working remotely or if at least some of their locations are physically open.

For companies that are entirely working remotely during the pandemic as of April 2020, there are some allowances being made for the virtual inspection of employee authorization documents through platforms such as web-based conferencing, fax, or virtual calls. To be eligible to do so, companies must do the following:

  • Have the entire workforce work remotely
  • Document the remote work policy with the Department of Homeland Security
  • Document the method of virtual inspection on the Form I-9 in sections two and three
  • Review tangible employee authorization documents in person within three days following the expiration of the end of the COVID-19 national emergency (or May 19, 2020) and then properly document this action

Companies that have at least some locations operating as normal, do not have the luxury of virtually inspecting employee authorization documents. However, they may be allowed to have a third-party act as an official authorized representative in reviewing authorization documents. Employers should note that some states may have more stringent rules on third-party designations than the national guidelines.

Whether employers are working remotely or have some physical locations open, it is crucial that they frequently check on government policy during this time of unprecedented change.

 

DMV Closures Affecting Employees Completing I-9 Forms

In this time of national business closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, many states have Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that are either closed or offering only limited services.

Unfortunately, this can have an unwelcome trickledown effect on employees attempting to successfully complete a Form I-9 for their employer. The primary problem with limited or no DMV services is that employees may have no other choice but to use an expired driver’s license as a form of identification on an I-9.

To help combat this issue, some states are extending the expiration date of state IDs and/or driver’s licenses.  While helpful, this presents a challenge for employers on how to document this unusual and temporary extension. The following steps may be helpful in this case:

  1. For employees with a driver’s license or state ID that is expired on or after March 1, 2020 in a state that has extended document expiration dates due to COVID-19, these forms of identification may still be acceptable as a List B document.
  2. To protect against I-9 violations, employers must document the acceptance of these documents in Section 2 of the form and enter the term COVID-19 EXT in the Additional Information Field.
  3. For added protection, employers should attach a copy of the DMV’s webpage or other supporting documentation as proof of the document extension.

Employers should check their state’s Motor Vehicle Administration or Department of Motor Vehicle’s website to confirm if they have or have not auto-extended the expiration date of driver’s licenses and state IDs.

 

How DMV Closures or Limited Services May Affect the E-Verify Process

Some companies either voluntarily or by mandate use the federal E-verify system to complement the Form I-9 process. Expired driver’s licenses and state IDs can cause some issues with E-verify as well.

In the case that an employee has an expired driver’s license or state ID that is eligible for an extended expiration date in their state due to COVID-19, employers should enter the actual expiration date of the employee’s document for E-verify purposes.

That said, the coronavirus crisis is causing many standard procedures to be reevaluated on an almost daily basis. Employers should check E-verify’s website daily for frequently asked questions to ensure proper procedure is being followed.

 

How Professional I-9 Compliance Guidance May Be Helpful

Learning how to stay I-9 compliant during pandemic related closures is just one of many issues that employers currently have on their plates, and it is overwhelming for many. Employers may want to consider enlisting the help of a company who specializes in professional I-9 compliance to assist with lightening their load and helping them stay on top of COVID-19 related compliance issues.

Lookout Services has provided I-9 guidance to employers for more than twenty years and offers digital I-9 compliance software that features the following:

  • A digital solution for I-9 compliance
  • Printable checklists for employees and employers to help keep everyone on task for completing the Form I-9 in advance of section deadlines
  • Time sensitive alerts for employers regarding impending deadlines
  • Minimization of frequently made Form I-9 errors such as incomplete fields, blank fields, and missing signatures
  • Document tracking
  • Document archiving assistance

 

Let Lookout Services assist you in learning how to stay I-9 compliant during pandemic related closures.  Call us to set up a virtual consultation today.

What Documents Are Required for Properly Filling out An I-9 Form?

Businesses nationwide are responsible for verifying each employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. While the concept is simple, the steps to being I9 compliant can be more complex. If a company hopes to be compliant with federal law, it is their duty to familiarize themselves with the Form I-9 procedure and the documents required for the I-9.

What is the Form I-9?

I9 ComplianceSince the passage of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, the law requires that employers and employees complete the Form I-9. This legal document of just one page consists of three main sections, each with its own deadlines.

Section 1:  Employees must fill out this section by the first day of employment. Employees must accurately and truthfully complete this section, or they can be charged with perjury. Employers should look over the final version of this section to make sure it is complete in its entirety without any blank fields or missing signatures.

Section 2:  This section of the Form I-9 requires that employees provide employers with one or more forms of identification to prove the employee’s eligibility to work in the United States of America. Once these forms of identification are supplied to the company, employers must verify the employee’s work eligibility by authenticating these same documents required for the I-9 within three days of an employee’s start date.

Section 3:  This last part of the form is generally completed by employers only if an employee’s work authorization expires, the employee has a legal name change, or if the employee is rehired within three years of the original date listed on the Form I-9.

When to Retain a Copy of I-9 Support Documents

It may seem like good sense to make and retain copies of important documents that the federal government requires a business to review, but when to retain a copy of I-9 related documents is a tricky question that can quickly send a business afoul of the law if the business isn’t paying close attention.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has more than quadrupled worksite enforcement investigations in the last year. With the increased enforcement efforts, this is a great time for U.S. businesses to reevaluate the company’s procedures to ensure that it remains in full I-9 compliance. Depending on how the business operates, keeping copies of I-9 supporting documentation may be the right answer – if it is done the right way.  Otherwise, optional document retention could create more problems than are solved.