Since the Immigration Reform and Control Act passed in 1986, all employers and employees must fill out the Form I-9 as part of their hiring process. This prevents businesses from knowingly or unknowingly hiring individuals who do not have legal authorization to work in the United States. The form itself isn’t long or complicated, but businesses can make a few mistakes when filling out and submitting them. Help your business and employees stay compliant by avoiding these most common I-9 Form errors.
Not Submitting the I-9 on Time
The Form I-9 comes with a time limit for both employees and employers. New employees must complete, sign, and date Section 1 of the form on or before their first day of paid work. After receiving the completed section 1 and the required documents proving an employee’s identity, employers must complete, sign, and date Section 2 within three business days. It’s also important for businesses to put the correct dates on the Form I-9. Even small delays or clerical errors can result in serious fines for your business.
Using an Outdated I-9
The Form I-9 gets an update every once in a while, which means there are several versions of the form. Using the wrong version is one of the most common I-9 Form errors, so make sure your business always stays up to date on the most current Form I-9. You can check your version’s expiration date at the bottom left corner of the form or simply obtain the form directly from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website each time you need it.
This may seem like a simple mistake, but many businesses run into trouble by skipping or missing certain parts of the Form I-9. Make sure you read over both parts of the form carefully. Every page should be legible when you submit it, as should any photocopies of IDs and other documents. Similarly, don’t use Wite-Out or other correction fluids on the form. Instead, mark mistakes clearly by putting a line through them and initialing beside it. Then, add the correct information next to it.
Not Using E-Verify
E-Verify is optional for many businesses, but you can save a lot of stress and hassle by using it. Companies that provide E-Verify and third-party I-9 verification services help you stay compliant throughout the I-9 process. This is a great way to efficiently and reliably verify your employees’ eligibility, saving you the time and money that a long process or human error can cost.