Common I-9 Compliance Problems

Employers must ensure that an employee fills out Section 1 of Form I-9 properly and completely. Commonly, employee's fail to sign Section 1, put a check mark in one of the three boxes in Section 1, or select the appropriate box. Employers must ensure that employees correct such mistakes.

Employers are barred from requiring that an employee provide certain documents to complete the Form I-9 and may not call for an employee to show more documentation than the Form I-9 requires.

Work authorization is automatically extended for 240 days for certain nonimmigrants who have filed an application for an extension of their work authorization. An INS receipt for a timely filed extension application may be used as proof of continuing work authorization for a period of 240 days. An employer must accept such a receipt as proof of continuing work authorization.

If an employee is unable to provide a required document within three business days of her or his hiring, the employee may present a receipt for the application for a replacement document within three business days of her or his hiring, but must present the required document within 90 days of her or his hiring. This rule does not apply when an employer reverifies employment authorization for current employees.

It is a violation of IRC to refuse to hire an applicant because he or she has only limited-duration INS work authorization.

Form I-151 expired on March 20, 1996 and is no longer valid for employment verification purposes. It is not necessary for employers to reverify employees who presented Form I-151 as evidence of work authorization prior to March 20, 1996. Employers, however, may not accept Form I-151 as proof of work authorization for any employee hired after March 20, 1996.

INA Section 274C makes it unlawful for a person knowingly: (i) to forge, counterfeit, alter, or falsely make any document for the purpose of satisfying a requirement under the immigration laws; (ii) to use, attempt to use, possess, obtain, accept, receive, or provide any such document to satisfy an immigration requirement; or (iii) to accept, receive, or provide a document lawfully issued to someone else for the purpose of complying with the employment verification requirements.

Latour and Lleras can assist your company in protecting itself a confidential, internal I-9 audit.