I-9 Form Compliance: The process, the penalties and the reason to pay attention

  For all of the excitement of beginning a new job, there is also plenty of paperwork to complete, and all new U.S. employees must fill out Form I-9.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, requires all firms to furnish an I-9 for their workers. Form I-9 is designed to verify the identity of a worker, as well as whether the worker can be employed in the United States.

Per government rules, a new hire must complete Section One of Form I-9 within one business day of joining the firm, with home address and Social Security number among the information to be furnished by the worker. The firm, meanwhile, must complete Section Two of Form I-9 within three business days of the start of a worker’s employment.

From there, it’s on the employer to retain Form I-9 for the totality of a worker’s employment. But a firm’s responsibility to keep Form I-9 doesn’t end when the worker departs. The company “must retain this form for either 3 years after the date of hire or 1 year after the date employment ended, whichever is later,” as the instructions for Form I-9 note.

It pays to regularly check your I-9 processes to make sure you are in compliance. Every employer incurs certain responsibilities under immigration law, including keeping I-9 Forms on file, and fines of at least $110 per missing form are possible. For bigger employers, this can become a real headache, especially since government audits and fines related to Form I-9 have increased in recent years, according to benefitspro.com.

For more tips and timely advice on how to ensure compliance, or for more on the strategic insurance solutions Plexus can offer, contact us at 847-307-6100 (Chicago) or 972-770-5010 (Dallas), or visit us on the web at plexusgroupe.com.


Form I-9: Instructions for Employment Eligibility Verification. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security. Wooldridge, Scott. “Fines for I-9 errors on the rise.” benefitspro.com, June 10, 2014.