I-9 Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

6. Can I fire an employee who fails to produce the required documents within three business days?

Yes, you may terminate an employee who fails to produce the required documents, or a receipt for a replacement document (in the case of lost, stolen or destroyed documents), within three business days of the date employment. However, you must apply these practices uniformly to all employees. If an employee has presented a receipt for a replacement document, he or she must produce the actual document within 90 days of the date employment.


7. What happens if I properly complete a Form I-9 and the U.S. ICE discovers that my employee is not actually authorized to work?

You cannot be charged with a verification violation; however, you cannot knowingly continue to employ this individual. You will have a good faith defense against the imposition of employer sanctions penalties for knowingly hiring an unauthorized alien unless the government can prove you had actual knowledge of the unauthorized status of the employee.

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8. As an employer, what is my responsibility concerning the authenticity of documents presented to me?

You must examine the documents and, if they appear to be reasonably genuine and relate to the person presenting them, you must accept them. To do otherwise could be an unfair immigration-related employment practice. If a document does not appear reasonably genuine and relate to the person presenting it, you must not accept it. You may contact your local U.S. ICE office for assistance.


9. May I accept a photocopy of a document presented by an employee?

No, employees must present original documents. The only exception is an employee may present a certified copy of a birth certificate.


10. What should be done with Forms I-9 after they are completed?

Unlike tax forms, for example, I-9 forms are not filed with the U.S. government. The requirement is for employers to maintain I-9 records in their own files for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date the employee’s employment is terminated, whichever is later. This means that Form I-9 needs to be retained for all current employees, as well as terminated employees whose records remain within the retention period. Form I-9 records may be stored at the worksite to which they relate or at a company headquarters (or other) location, but the storage choice must make it possible for the documents to be transmitted to the worksite within three days of an official request for production of the documents for inspection.