Be aware of I-9 compliance and follow the rules to avoid audits

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, recently announced that it is planning a nationwide increase of Form I-9 audits this summer. Additionally, the agency will continue to pursue criminal cases against employers and the deportation of employees who are in the United States illegally.

For fiscal year 2018, the agency has dramatically increased worksite investigations and I-9 audits, resulting in 594 criminal and 610 administrative worksite-related arrests.

In an effort to keep employers up-to-date on this topic, following are some tips for I-9 compliance:

Make sure you are using the most updated version of the form

The I-9 form is updated from time-to-time. To be compliant, an employee and employer must complete the most up-to-date version or they risk fines for each incorrect form that has been completed and submitted. The most current version of the I-9 form shows OMB No. 1615-0047 and expiration date of 8/31/2019 in the upper right-hand corner.

Adhere to signing timelines

Section 1 of the I-9 form must be completed by the employee “at the time of hire.” This is defined as starting when the employee accepts the job offer through the end of the employee’s first day of active employment. This means if your new hire is completing the I-9 form the week after his or her first day, it is not in compliance with the law.

Section 2 of the form must be completed by the employer within 3 business days of the date of hire (defined as the employee’s first day of active work).

Provide employees with the instruction document and List of Acceptable Documents

The I-9 form has a 15-page instruction document as well as a List of Acceptable Documents. Both of these items must be made available to employees as they complete Section 1 of the form. This may be provided either in print or electronically.

Documentation must be presented in original form and unexpired

Employees must present, in person, original forms of identification used to verify identity and employment eligibility. These must be presented to the company representative who will complete Section 2 of the I-9 form. The documentation must be inspected for authenticity; if the company representative feels the document does not reasonably appear to be genuine or does not relate to the employee, the representative may reject the document and ask the employee to provide another document to satisfy requirements.

As a reminder, the employer may not specify the types of documents that can be used to validate identity and eligibility to work. This means that an employer should not say, “Please bring your driver’s license and Social Security card on your first day to complete the I-9.” Any documentation presented within List of Acceptable Documents may be used.

BCN Services can assist your business with proper form completion as well as audit preparation and response. Please contact us at 1-800-891-9911 with questions or if you need assistance.


Alicia Freeman, Operations Manager