The USCIS released a revised I-9 form on May 7, 2013. Now that the two month grace period has ended, we have identified the top 10 mistakes our clients are making when filling out the new form. Mistakes or missing information, whether intentional or not, can lead to stiff penalties.
1. USING THE OLD FORM
You MUST use the NEW form. The OLD form is one page, while the NEW form is two pages. If you aren’t sure which form you are using, look at the expiration date on the top right corner of the form.
Not using the new form can result in substantial penalties.
2. USING THE SPANISH FORM
You MUST use the ENGLISH form. The Spanish form is ONLY valid in Puerto Rico.
However, you may use the form for illustrative purposes – to show Spanish speaking employees where to write their name, date of birth, A#, etc.
Do not accept or request more documents than are necessary.
The employee must provide EITHER one document from List A – OR- one document from B and one document from C. Requesting more documents than necessary is considered discrimination, and is prosecutable.
The Office of Special Counsel’s purpose is to identify and prevent employment discrimination against immigrants; this is an obvious example of discrimination, whether it was intentional or not.
4. ACCEPTING LIMITED SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS
You may accept a limited card, but MUST ask for additional documents from the list. There are three types of restricted cards: the first states, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMEMT”. The second states, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION.” The third states, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION”
5. INCOMPLETE SECTION 1
The employee MUST complete Section 1 by the end of his/her FIRST day of work for pay.
6. FAILING TO LIST EMPLOYEE NAME ON PAGE 2
The new form is now two pages, you MUST write the employee’s name at the top of page 2.
The reason for this rule is that while some companies use two-sided forms, others use single-sided forms, which may become separated during I-9 audits. To avoid this obstacle, it is required to place the name on BOTH pages.
7. LATE ATTESTATIONS
Either the employee has not signed the Attestation in Section 1 by the end of his/her first day of employment -or- the employer has not signed the Attestation in Section 2 by the end of the third business day of employment. To avoid this problem entirely, make sure you fully process each I-9 on the first day of employment.
8. LAST VERIFICATIONS
You MUST verify the employee’s employment eligibility within three business days of the employee’s FIRST day of employment. To avoid this problem entirely, make sure you fully process each I-9 on the first day of employment.
This policy can cause employers to believe they must wait to process the forms for three business days. This is NOT the case. It merely allows the employer extra time to do so.
9. INCORRECT USE OF DATA FIELDS
You MUST ensure the employee has properly filled out ALL fields correctly in Section 1. Employees often mistakenly add their date of birth next to the Signature box, rather than the date of hire.
10. RE-VERIFICATION ERRORS
When the employee’s Employment Authorization expires, you MUST re-verify on the NEW FORM. You MUST NOT add the re-verification to the old form. Simply staple the old form to the new one, and re-verify in Section 3.
ICE has identified Mock Audits as a Best Practice. In following their mandate, we are offering a Mock Audit, free-of-charge or obligation to all of our former, current, and prospective clients. Send us 10% of your I-9’s, which have been RANDOMLY selected (do not send us your best forms, because we need to pinpoint areas of improvement). Let us help you identify and correct technical, procedural, and substantive errors, so that you can avoid penalties and fines.