USCIS Releases QAs On I-9

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Questions and Answers

Who Needs to Complete Form I-9?

Q.  Do employers need to complete new Forms I-9 for retired employees who were originally hired before Nov. 7, 1986, and who come back to work after retiring?

      A. A retired employee who separated from the company and later returned should complete Form I-9 even if the employee was originally hired before Nov. 7, 1986. This employee is considered a new hire.

Q.  Should employers ask volunteers to complete Form I-9?

     A.  Volunteers do not need to complete Forms I-9 unless an employer determines the volunteers will receive something of value (also known as remuneration) for their work. If they receive remuneration such as housing, they are considered employees who must complete Form I-9.

Q.  Do employees hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986, need to complete Form I-9 if they are transferred to work in the United States after working overseas since their original hire date? 

     A.  Yes, employees who have not been working in the United States and never completed Form I-9 are considered new hires when transferred to work in the United States and must complete Form I-9. 

Q.  When an employee transfers to the United States after working abroad, what hire date should the employer write on Form I-9?

     A.  Write the date the employee begins working in the United States in the certification block in Section 2. The time the employee worked abroad was not subject to Form I-9 rules.

Q.  Should an employer complete Form I-9 if a new employee attends a few days of training in the United States before starting his or her job in a foreign country?

     A.  If the employer is paying for training that is required for the job, Form I-9 should be completed. An employer must complete Form I-9 even for an employee who will attend training in the United States only for one day. If the employee is not yet receiving wages and the training is voluntary—or if the training is paid for personally by the employee and the employee will not be reimbursed—then it is likely that Form I-9 would not be required.

Q.  Do employers have to update or complete a new Form I-9 when disbursing back pay to an individual who no longer works for the company.

     A.  No. Employers do not update or complete Form I-9 if only disbursing back pay to an individual who will not perform services or labor.

Q.  Should employers complete Form I-9 for employees who will work only one day?

     A.  Yes. Employers must complete Form I-9 for each employee hired to work in the United States, even if the employee works only one day.

Q.  I discovered that I do not have a completed Form I-9 for a former employee who was hired after Nov. 6, 1986. Can I require that the former employee complete Form I-9 before I issue him or her a final paycheck or a W-2?

     A.  No. You may not withhold pay for work completed or a W-2 form from any employee for any reason associated with Form I-9. 

How to Complete Form I-9

Q.  May employees use a P.O. Box as their address in Section 1?

     A.  No, employees may not use P.O. Boxes as their address on Form I-9. Employees must enter the physical address of their residence in Section 1 (e.g., "1234 Verification Street"). If the employee's residence does not have a physical address, he or she should enter a description of the location of his or her residence. The following is an example of an acceptable description: "18 miles southwest of Anytown post office near water tower".

Q.  Does Form I-9 need to be completed in a specific color of ink?

     A.  No. Form I-9 does not need to be completed in a specific color of ink. However, the information written on the form must be readable for the entire retention period of the form.

Q.  Can an employer prefill (fill in advance) Section 2 with the business or organization name, address and position of the company representative?

     A.  Yes. Employers may prefill the “Print Name,” “Title” and “Business or Organization Name and Address” blocks of Section 2 of Form I-9.

Q.  Can an employer include Form I-9 in a job application packet?

     A.  No. An employer cannot require an employee to complete Form I-9 before the employee has accepted a job offer. However, the employer can inform applicants that upon hire they must complete Form I-9.

Q.  Can a notary public attach an attestation to Form I-9 instead of providing a signature in the signature block of Section 2?

     A.  No. Section 2 is a review of the documents the employee presents and must be signed. If that section is not signed, Form I-9 is not complete.