As employers grow and hire new employees, it is important that employers and their authorized representatives are up to date on various on boarding requirements. One of these requirements come from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Form I-9 is required for all employers who hire employees in the United States. This Friday’s Five provides employers and their authorized representatives with answers to five questions about the Form I-9.

1. What is a Form 1-9?

Form I-9 is a federal requirement to verify the identity and employment authorization for all individuals hired for employment in the United States. This form requires the employee to provide their information and affirm that they are authorized to work in the United States, and the employer to review and verify the documentation provided by the employee. The Form I-9, including instructions, can be found here:

2. What are employers’ obligations regarding the Form I-9?

The employer, or authorized representative, should first review Section 1 to ensure that the employee completed it properly. Then, the employer should review the documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents provided by the employee, in the presence of the employee. The employer should ensure that the document is an unexpired original (a certified copy of a birth certificate is acceptable). The employer should complete the information requested in Section 2 based on the information provided. The individual who physically examined the original document(s) and completed Section 2, must sign their name and attest that, to the best of their knowledge, the employee is authorized to work in the United States, and if the employee presented document(s), the document(s) they examined appear to be genuine and relate to the employee.

 Practice tip: An employer cannot specify which documents the employee can or cannot present from the list. Both California and Federal Law prohibit an employer from discriminating against employees on the basis of their citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin.

3. Do employers need to photocopy the documents presented?

No, unless the employer participates in E-Verify. If the employer chooses to photocopy any documents, then they should do so consistently for all new hires and retain them with the Form I-9. If the employer participates in E-Verify, you must photocopy all U.S. passports, passport cards, Permanent Resident Cards (Form I-551), and Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766) and retain them with the Form I-9.

4. How to maintain Form I-9’s?

Completed Form I-9’s and any photocopied documents should be maintained together and, in a file, separate from the employee’s personnel file. Employers must retain these documents for three years from the date of hire, or one year after separation of employment. The documents should be maintained in a way that they can be produced within three business days of an inspection request from the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Immigration and Employee Rights Section, or U.S. Department of Labor.

Employers may maintain these documents electronically by scanning and uploading the original and destroying the original. However, if they choose to do so, they must ensure they follow all of the electronic records security requirements outlined here

5. What if the employee does not speak English?

If an employee utilizes a preparer and/or a translator to assist them in completing Section 1, they must check the appropriate box at the end of Section 1 and complete the rest of the box, including the name and address of the preparer or translator. If the employee uses more than one preparer and/or translator, they must complete Form I-9 Supplement to list each preparer and/or translator that helped the employee.