Filling out the Form I-9 is a standard part of the hiring process, a way of verifying the identity and employment authorization for employees who are hired to work in the United States (both citizens and non citizens). Every employer in the U.S. is required to ensure that I-9 forms are properly and accurately completed by the employee, and that the employer section is filled out as well. I-9 forms are to be stored in a location separate from employee personnel files, and retained for a period of three years after the date of hire, or one year after termination, whichever is longer, and made accessible for inspection by authorized government officials, in the event of an audit. 

Part of this process is the review of acceptable documentation that evidences the employee’s identity and authorization to work in the U.S. A complete list of these documents can be found on the last page of the Form I-9, a social security card and drivers license being the most common set of documents used in completing the form.

Green Cards (also referred to as “permanent resident cards”), a document also used in the identification and employment authorization review, have recently been updated with an image stating “Signature Waived” in the location where the resident’s signature would have previously been located. Employers who are responsible for ensuring that the Form I-9s are accurately completed need to be aware of this change.

Additionally, Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) such as the Green Card, will be only issued for two years versus the three year expiration date that many EADs had in the past. Employers in charge of I-9s need to be familiar with this change, and aware that employees may present EADs that have varying expiration periods and that the dates of expiration will vary depending on the type of EAD.

Remember that it is important to carefully review all identity and employment authorization documentation, and reject any documentation that does not appear to be genuine, and request the employee to present alternative documentation that will satisfy the Form I-9 requirements.