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I-9 Forms: Top 10 Mistakes Employers Must Avoid

Posted by Ann Badmus | Aug 10, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) audits the I-9 forms of thousands of businesses every year. With potential fines of $110 to $1100 for each violation found on an I-9 form, companies must ensure that their I-9 forms are error-free. Here are the 10 most common mistakes employers make that can costs thousands if left uncorrected.

Mistake #1 – The Employer and/or employee fails to sign and date the I-9 forms where indicated on the form.

Mistake #2 – The employee fails to complete section 1 of the I-9 Form on the first date of work.

Mistake #3 – The employer does not examine the I-9 documents and fails to complete section 2 of the I-9 form with three business days of hire.

Mistake #4 – The Employer leaves the start date for work blank in the “certification” block of section 2.

Mistake #5 – The employee does not mark one of the four blocks in section 1 regarding his or her status or fails to provide the necessary information for the third and fourth blocks. The employee must indicate whether he is a U.S. citizen, noncitizen national, permanent resident, or otherwise authorized to be employed.

Mistake #6 – The employer forgets to track the expiration date of work authorization and does not re-verify an employee's employment authorization on or before the expiration date listed on the I-9 form.

Mistake #7 – The employer over-documents and lists too many documents in section 2. This could lead to a discrimination charge against the Employer.

Mistake #8 – The employer looks at photocopies rather than original verification documents. The employee must present original documents and the Employer should never accept photocopies of documents for verification.

Mistake #9 – The employer fails to match the employee's verification documents – the Employer should look for a match and consistency in the employee's name and date of birth on the documents.

Mistake #10 – The employer fails to consistently apply its photocopying policy. The law does not require employer to make copies of verification documents; however, if the employer does make copies, it must make copies for all employees, not just some. And, any copies of verification documents must be kept with the I-9 form and nowhere else.

An internal audit of your I-9 forms can uncover these mistakes and correcting them before a government audit can save you thousands!

If you have questions about how to conduct an internal I-9 audit or other immigration rules that challenge or affect your business, you are invited to call or email Ann Badmus, 214-672-2161, [email protected].

About the Author

Ann Badmus

Principal and Managing Attorney


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