The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 aimed to deter illegal immigration in the U.S. by introducing Form I-9. Employers must complete Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new employees, both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens. The most recent version of Form I-9 can be found here. When the form is downloaded, you will notice in the top left corner there is an “Instructions” button. Clicking that will take you to USCIS’s official instructions for completing the form. Refer to this document if you have any questions about completing the form. There are also “?” in each box on the form, which if you click will provide instructions as well. If these instructions do not adequately answer your inquiry, you should contact an immigration attorney to ensure you are in compliance.
The employee completes Section 1 of the form and, within 3 business days of starting the job, the employee must present the employer with documentation that establishes identity and work authorization
Canadians who enter the U.S. to work with a visa generally will provide their I-94 and Canadian passport to establish their identity and employment authorization. Most ports-of-entry do not issue a paper I-94 anymore as the process is becoming increasingly automated. To get a copy of your most recent I-94 you can go to the following link; click “GET MOST RECENT I-94”; provide your name, date of birth, passport information; and retrieve your I-94.
Employers complete Section 2 and 3 of the form and must do so within 3 business days of employee’s first day of employment. Employers must also ensure that the employee has access to the form and list of acceptable documents. The list of acceptable documents can be found at the last page of the form.
Employers must have an I-9 on file for all current employees and, for former employees, must retain the form for the later date of either 1) 3 years after the date of hire or 2) 1 year after the date employment was terminated. When an employee’s work authorization expires, the employer must re-verify that the employee is still authorized to work.
After completing form I-9, employers can then use the E-Verify program to confirm the employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S. E-Verify is a web-based system that cross-references the information on the I-9 with records available to the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Generally, the E-Verify program is voluntary and employers who want to enroll can do so at uscis.gov/E-Verify.