Form I-9 Regulations and Requirements

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All U.S. employers are required by law to verify the identity and work authorization or eligibility of their employees, whether U.S. citizens or not, by filing an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. The University uses the online version of Form I-9 and e-Verify.

Employers cannot discriminate against anyone (other than any unauthorized alien) on the basis of national origin or citizenship status in hiring, discharging, recruiting, or referring for a fee, assignment, compensation, or other conditions of employment.

The I-9 Employment Verification process cannot be used to pre-screen employees. You do not need to review documents until a person has been hired. The Department of Homeland Security defines hired as "the actual commencement of employment of an employee for wages or other remuneration. The employee must complete Section 1 of the I-9 form by the date of hire (i.e., no later than the date on which employment services start)."

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Responsibilities—Employer and Employee

Employer Responsibilities

The employer must make sure the I-9 form is completed by the date of hire. The employer must examine the identity and employment eligibility documents within three business days after the employee starts working. If the employee can't present the required documents within those three days, the employee has to present a receipt showing they've applied for replacement documents, and then present the actual documents within 90 days. See more information about the receipt rule below.

  • The employee must show a list A item, or a list B and list C item. The list B item must show a photo.
  • The employer can't stipulate which documents an employee chooses to show to satisfy the document requirements.
  • The employer is responsible for making sure the employee fills out Section 1 completely and on time.

    • Note: The Social Security number box is optional on the paper form, so an employer can't require an employee to complete it.
    • The Social Security number box is a required field when using e-Verify.
  • If the I-9 requirements aren't met within three business days from the hire, the employee must stop working until the I-9 form is completed. See the Handbook for Employers—Instructions of Completing Form I-9 (pdf), pages 23 and 32, for more information.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees must provide the information requested in Section 1. Most importantly, they must attest to their status by checking the appropriate box:

  • Citizen/national of the United States
  • Lawful permanent resident
  • Alien authorized to work in the United States until a specific date

Employees must sign and date Section 1 of the I-9 form when completed. The Form I-9 isn't valid and can't be accepted if the employee refuses to sign it. The employee doesn't need to provide any documentation to substantiate the information in Section 1. 

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Reviewing and Verifying Documents

The employer (or representative) must personally review original documents only. Photocopies (including fax copies) or numbers representing original documents are not acceptable. The only exception to the photocopy rule is a certified copy of a birth certificate.

Original Documents

The standard used to determine the genuineness of the documents in the employment eligibility verification process is reasonableness. The document must reasonably appear genuine on its face and relate to the person presenting it.

Document Choice

An employee can choose to provide a list A document to show identity and employment authorization, or a List B document to show identity and a List C document to show employment eligibility. The documents cannot be expired. See the Handbook for Employers—Instructions of Completing Form I-9 (pdf) for a list of document choices. See the Removed Documents section below for more information.

See I-9 Employment Authorization Requirements for international students, scholars, and visitors for more information on other document choices that fulfill I-9 requirements for aliens.

Questionable Documents

Employers can reject documents that don't appear appropriate or genuine. Employees who present questionable documentation should be asked for other documents to satisfy the I-9 requirements.

Copying of Documentation

Although I-9 regulations allow employers to make copies of the documents presented to show I-9 compliance, the University of Minnesota does not require copies of I-9 documentation for the online I-9 process. For I-9s completed on paper, the University has chosen to require copies with all paper I-9s.

Social Security Card Issues

The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues Social Security numbers and cards to aliens only if they can present documentation of current employment authorization in the U.S. Lawful permanent residents, refugees, and asylees are issued unrestricted Social Security cards that are the same as those issued to U.S. citizens.

Some Social Security cards have restrictions on them and do not satisfy the I-9 requirements. If that is the case, the employee must show other documents to comply with the requirements. See I-9 Employment Authorization Requirements for more information on other documents that fulfill I-9 requirements for aliens.

Note: The Social Security box in Section 1 is optional when completing a paper I-9. The employer cannot compel the employee to complete that box. However, the Social Security box is required when the employer uses e-Verify. An unsigned Social Security card can be used as evidence of authorized employment for I-9 purposes, according to a court case.

The employer must complete Secton 2 of the I-9 within three business days of employment. The following information must be recorded on the form:

  • Document title
  • Issuing authority
  • Document number
  • Expiration date (if any)
  • Date the employment begins

Signature and Date

The person who reviews the original documents must sign and date the I-9 form, whether that person is the employer or an agent (see Remote Hires below). The employer (or agent) is not attesting to the legitimacy of the person's status, but rather to the fact that the documents presented appear to be genuine and relate to the person presenting them.

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Documents No Longer Accepted

The following documents have been removed from the list of acceptable identity and work authorization documents and can no longer be used:

  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (List A)
  • Certificate of Naturalization (List A)
  • Unexpired Reentry Permit (List A)
  • Unexpired Refugee Travel Document (List A)
  • Form I-151 has been withdrawn from circulation and is no longer an acceptable List A document. However, Form I-551 remains an acceptable List A document 2

Note: Expired documents, such as an expired U.S. passport, are no longer acceptable. However, certain employment authorization cards may appear expired but have actually been extended under limited circumstances by USCIS. Two such forms are the I-766 and I-551.

See the Handbook for Employers—Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (pdf) for the list of documents still acceptable for I-9 purposes.

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Receipt Rule

The Receipt Rule explains when receipts may be used in lieu of original documents in the I-9 process.

  • If the original has been lost, stolen, or damaged, a receipt for application of a replacement document can be accepted. The person must show the original replacement document within 90 days of hire.
  • Unexpired foreign passport with I-94 is made more limiting.
  • Form I-94 with a refugee admission stamp is acceptable as a receipt for 90 days, within which the person must present a Social Security card (unrestricted) with a List B item, or an EAD card (Employment Authorization card). The stamp may include a reference to Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act rather the word "refugee."
  • A receipt for application to extend an EAD card's employment authorization expiration date is not acceptable.
  • A receipt is never acceptable for employment lasting less than three days.

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Remote Hires

When hiring a person to work in a remote location, the employer can designate an agent to carry out the employer's I-9 responsibilities. Contact the Office of Human Resources at 4-UOHR (612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363) for more information on how the remote hire should complete the online I-9.

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An employee rehired within three years of the original hire (the date the original I-9 form was completed) does not have to complete a new I-9 form, as long as the employee is still eligible to work on the same basis shown on the original I-9 form.

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Retaining the I-9 Form

Employers must keep I-9 forms in their files as long as the person is employed, and for a certain time after the person has left the University. That time period is determined once an employee has terminated, by calculating two dates: 

  • Date A: Add three years to the hire date.
  • Date B: Add one year to the termination date.
  • Whichever date is later is the retention date.

For questions or more information, contact

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