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Updated: June 7, 2024

US Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9: Simple instructions and PDF Download

Published By:

Erin Ellison

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It’s the first day for your brand new employee, and there’s an alphabet soup of forms for them to fill out before they can start work. Form I-9 is one of the forms that’s mandatory for all new employees. It’s used by the federal government to verify employment eligibility to work in the US.

Fast facts about Form I-9

  • All new hires in the US are required to complete Form I-9.
  • Both the newly hired employee and employer must sign and date the form.
  • The form must be completed within three business days of the date of hire.
  • Employers need to keep Form I-9 on file for three years after the date of hire or for one year after employment ends, whichever is later.
  • An updated version of Form I-9 was released on August 1, 2023.

Here’s a quick overview of how Form I-9 works, the basic compliance requirements and instructions, plus what your employee will need to do to complete theirs.

Downloadable and printable I-9 form PDF

A new, more condensed version of Form I-9 is now available for use as of August 1, 2023, according to an announcement from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Above is a fillable PDF version of Form I-9 that you can print or download.

What is Form I-9 used for?

An I-9 is the Department of Homeland Security’s Employment Eligibility Verification form. Completed by each new employee at your business, it is used to determine and document each employee’s eligibility to work in the US. A few key things to note:

  • All US employers are required to have any new hires fill out this form, regardless of citizenship status.
  • Form I-9 must be filled out by both the employer and the employee.
  • Employees must verify their identity using items from a specific list (below). The complete list of acceptable documents is also included in the official instructions.
  • As the employer, you are not allowed to tell the employee which documents they need to use for verification purposes.
  • I-9s must be retained in your files for either three years after the date of hire, or for one year after employment has been terminated, whichever is longer.
  • I-9s are not submitted to any agency, but they may be audited at any time by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

According to the announcement from the USCIS:

  • Beginning November 1, 2023, all employers were required to use the new version of Form I-9.

 

Per a summary of changes from the USCIS, the revised Form I-9 has the following updates.

 

  • The version date can be found in the lower-left corner of the updated form.
  • Sections 1 and 2 are now reduced to one page and no previous fields were removed.
  • It’s designed to be a fillable form for both tablets and mobile devices.
  • The Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area has been moved to a separate supplement that employers can provide to employees when needed.
  • Section 3, also known as Reverification and Rehire, has been moved to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required.
  • The lists of acceptable documents page has been revised to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
  • Form instructions have been reduced from 15 pages to eight pages.
  • A new checkbox allows employers to indicate they have examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.

 

Below are instructions on how to complete the previous version of Form I-9 and we will update this page with instructions on filling out the new version in the coming days.

What do you need to fill out Form I-9?

As an employer, you’ll need to physically view an employee’s chosen form(s) of identification to complete their portion of the I-9. Even though all of the required documents need to be supplied by the employee, you will be required to sign that you have seen documents and identification that verify each employee’s eligibility to work in the US, and that the documentation employees provide are valid.

 

It is a best practice, but not required, to photocopy any documents employees provide to prove their eligibility. See the full list of acceptable documents below.

Completing the revised Form I-9

The updated I-9 Form has some similarities to its predecessor and the steps to complete it are also similar.

 

Using the previous version is no longer possible. If you would like to read the previous instructions about how to fill it out (and see how it compares to the update), the old version I-9 instructions can be found below toward the bottom of the page.

 

Instructions for the 2023 I-9 form revision

As we mentioned above, the USCIS released an updated version of Form I-9. At the beginning of the instructions — before explaining each step — the USCIS lists the following pointers for employers to remember when completing Form I-9.

 

  • All employees should have access to the USCIS’s Form I-9 instructions and Lists of Available Documents when completing Form I-9.
  • Additionally, instructions for completing Form I-9 and the List of Available Documents must be made available to the employee when requesting the employee to complete Supplement B, Reverification, and Rehire.
  • Supplement B only needs to be completed when applicable
  • If any sections do not apply, the USCIS says to leave it blank, including Section 1 where appropriate
  • Keep copies of any I-9 forms on file. They must be retained and made available for inspection by US government officials upon request, per the DHS Privacy Notice. Note that you are not required to keep or store the pages with the List of Acceptable Documents or the instructions to complete Form I-9.
  • Do not mail completed forms to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

 

Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation
As in the previous version, the purpose of this section is to indicate the employee’s current immigration status, such as:

 

  • Being a citizen of the US
  • Non-citizen national of the US
  • Lawful permanent resident
  • Noncitizen authorized to work in the US

 

Employees need to complete and sign this part of the form by their first day of employment. The employee can also complete Section 1 before they start work, but they must only complete it after accepting a job offer.

 

Updated I-9 Form 2023 Section One Employee Information and Attestation.png

 

Supplement A, Preparer and/or Translator Certificate for Section 1

Before discussing Section 2, Employer Review and Reverification, let’s discuss one of the new I-9 form’s biggest changes. Previously, if an employee received assistance from a preparer or translator when completing Form I-9, the person who provided assistance had to sign and date the form. That is still a requirement; it’s just that this information now has to be included in a standalone supplement called: Supplement A, Preparer and/or Translator Certificate for Section 1. This appears on page three (and below is a screenshot):

 

 

I-9 Form 2023 Update Supplement A

 

Recordkeeping to keep in mind: Per the USCIS an employer must keep on file any supplement pages that are completed, as well as any photocopies of documentation the employee provided, for as long as the employee works for you.

 

The next section covers important employer responsibilities.

 

Section 2: Employer Review and Verification

Within three days of starting work, the newly hired employee must present specific documents attesting to their chosen status entered in Section 1 of the form. Employers must then add this information to Section 2.

 

I-9 Form 2023 Update Section 2 Employer Review and Verification

 

Employees can present one selection from List A, or one selection from List B and one selection from List C below. You can see a more detailed list on page two of the I-9 Form instructions. Note that the USCIS instructions state that you should not state which documents the employee should share with you to complete this section.

 

LIST A LIST B LIST C
U.S. Passport U.S. Driver’s License Social Security Card
U.S. Passport Card U.S. State I.D. Card Birth Certificate
Permanent Resident Card Voter Registration Card U.S. Citizen I.D. Card
Foreign Passport w/I-551 U.S. Military Card Receipt for application to replace Social Security Card
Employment Authorization Document U.S. Military Dependent I.D. Card Certificate for Birth Abroad
A receipt for application to replace passport Native American Tribal Document

 

Before entering information in Section 2,  according to the USCIS, you must inspect documents to verify the details are correct. To do this, you must either:

 

  • Physically inspect the documents the employee provides
  • Or you may verify the information with an alternative procedure that’s authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You will see a “check” box provided in the form if you use this option (one way to do this is by using E-Verify, which we’ll cover below).

 

To use E-Verify to examine documents, which is valid as of August 1, 2023, employers must:

  • Enroll in E-Verify and be in good standing
  • This provides the option to conduct verification electronically and with a live video call interaction.

 

More information is available from the Department of Homeland Security.

 

Supplement B, Reverification and Rehire

In the previous edition of Form I-9, this information appeared in Section 3. It is now its own standalone supplement in the revised edition of the form. Supplement B only needs to be filled out if a former employee is rehired within three years of their original hire date, if a document used to verify immigration status has expired, or to provide proof of a legal name change.

 

I-9 Form Update 2023 Supplement B Reverification nad Rehire (formerly section 3)

 

In addition to the information above, the USCIS provides a handbook that is updated on a regular basis with guidance. You can access this here.

 

Or you can see more information about completing this documentation in I-9 Central.

How do you fill out the previous I-9 Form?

Section 1: Employee information and attestation: Your employee is responsible for completing this section. As part of this, they will indicate their current immigration status such as a citizen of the U.S., non-citizen national of the U.S., lawful permanent resident, or alien authorized to work in the U.S.

 

IRS Form I-9 Section one screenshot

 

This part of the form should be filled out no later than the employee’s first day of employment. A Preparer and/or Translator Certification section will also need to be completed and signed if a translator was used to assist the employee with filling out the form or translating the information in any form.

 

Section 2: Employer review and verification: Within three days of starting work, the newly hired employee must present specific documents attesting to their chosen status. Employees can present one selection from List A, or one selection from List B and one selection from List C below.

 

Here is a partial list of acceptable documents. The I-9 instruction form contains a more detailed list.

 

 

LIST A LIST B LIST C
U.S. Passport U.S. Driver’s License Social Security Card
U.S. Passport Card U.S. State I.D. Card Birth Certificate
Permanent Resident Card Voter Registration Card U.S. Citizen I.D. Card
Foreign Passport w/I-551 U.S. Military Card Receipt for application to replace Social Security Card
Employment Authorization Document U.S. Military Dependent I.D. Card Certificate for Birth Abroad
A receipt for application to replace passport Native American Tribal Document

 

Again, you cannot specify which documents need to be presented or indicate a preference in any way. If asked, you should refer the employee to the last page of the instructions found on the USCIS website for more information so they can decide for themselves.

 

Any document presented for proof of work status must be an original document or certified copy. It’s the employer’s responsibility to review all of the documents received and subsequently fill out Section 2, where you will enter information such as Document Title, Issuing Authority, Document Number, and Expiration Date.

 

You may also choose to make a photocopy of the documents presented to remain with the completed I-9. Once the form is completed, you will need to enter the employee’s start date, sign the form, and add it to your files.

 

Section 3: Reverification for rehires. Section 3 only needs to be filled out if a former employee is rehired within three years of their original hire date, or if a document used to verify immigration status has expired.

 

IRS Form I-9 section three screenshot

 

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When should it be filed?

Unlike other employment forms, an I-9 is not filed with an outside agency, but instead is retained by the employer and made available for inspection by U.S. Government officials as needed. It’s your choice to keep all paper I-9s together in one folder in your employee files or keep each one with the rest of their personnel file.

Pro tip:

To make the process simpler in the event of an audit, it’s best practice to store Form I-9 separately from employee files, per the USCIS.

Employers are required to retain an I-9 for as long as the employee remains employed with their business. Once employment ends, the company needs to hold onto the form at least one year after employment has ended.

 

With U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement increasing the frequency of company audits, it’s vital that this form is filled out accurately and filed on a timely basis to avoid steep penalties and fines.

 

Visit U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for additional information or to access the IRS instructions for Form I-9.

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Erin Ellison is the former Content Marketing Manager for OnPay. She has more than 15 years of writing experience, is a former small business owner, and has managed payroll, scheduling, and HR for more than 75 employees. She lives and works in Atlanta.