7 Steps for Mastering the Form I-9 Employment Verification in New Hire Reporting


Alexa Sentementes

on Jun 26, 2024 1:58:03 PM

Ensuring compliance with employment regulations is crucial when it comes to new hire reporting. The I-9 Employment Verification form is a crucial part of this process for confirming the employees’ employment eligibility in the United States.

In this article, we will walk through seven steps that are required to complete the I-9 employment verification form for new hire reporting, providing detailed instructions for each step.

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Completing the Form I-9 is essential for employers to meet compliance with immigration laws and regulations, avoiding potential legal risks.

Important Timeline for Completing the Form I-9

Employers should keep in mind that there is an important timeline for completing the Form I-9:

  • New employees can start completing Section 1 of Form I-9 as soon as they accept the offer   
  • New employees must complete and sign Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the end of their first day of employment
  • Employers must examine employee’s documents and fully complete Section 2 of Form I-9 no later than the end of the third day of a new employee’s employment

Steps for Completing Form I-9 in New Hire Reporting

Here are the steps you need to know in order to properly file Form I-9:

Step 1: Update Your Form I-9 

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued an updated I-9 form in August 2023, along with updates to rules and regulations around the form. As of November 1, 2023, the old version of Form I-9 can no longer be used, thus all employers are required to update their Form I-9 to the new version. 

Employers must make sure to update their Form I-9 as the first step of the I-9 verification process. You can also check out this guide on updating Form I-9 for specific instructions.

Step 2: Provide Clear Instructions to New Hires

Effective communication is key to streamlining the verification process. HR professionals should provide new hires with clear instructions on requirements for completing the Form I-9. 

This includes informing them of the acceptable documents for verification, such as a U.S. passport, driver's license, or Social Security card, and stressing the importance of accuracy and timeliness in submission.

Step 3: Verify Employee Identity and Employment Authorization Documents

Once new hires have provided information / documents for the required sections of Form I-9, HR professionals must carefully examine the submitted information and employment authorization documents. 

Verification should be conducted in person, ensuring that documents are genuine and unaltered. It's crucial to adhere strictly to the list of acceptable documents provided by the USCIS to avoid compliance issues.

Step 4: Transcribe Information Accurately

Accuracy is non-negotiable when transcribing information from the I-9 form. HR professionals must diligently transcribe details from the employee's documents onto the form, paying close attention to spelling, dates, and other pertinent information. Any discrepancies or errors could lead to complications during audits or investigations, demonstrating the importance of meticulous recordkeeping.

Using Human Capital Management (HCM) software to record, store, and track employee data is a great way to avoid errors that can be caused by things such as manual entry and redundancies in operations while minimizing compliance risk. Our full-suite workforce management solution can transform your HR process and help you get a head start on enhancing organizational efficiency.

Step 5: Adhere to Recordkeeping Requirements

After completing Form I-9, it's important to adhere to document retention requirements mandated by law. Employers must keep each Form I-9 on file for each employee for a specified period. This is typically either three years after the date of hire or one year after termination. Whichever occurs last. Failure to maintain accurate records can result in severe penalties and fines.

Step 6: Stay Informed About Regulatory Updates

The landscape of employment verification is subject to change, with updates and amendments to regulations occurring periodically. The most recent update happened in 2023, with a new version of the Form I-9, and updated rules and regulations around it.

HR professionals must stay up to date with any changes to I-9 requirements, including updates to acceptable documents or modifications to the verification process. 

Proactive engagement with regulatory authorities and industry resources can help ensure compliance with evolving standards.

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Step 7: Conduct Regular Audits and Training

To maintain compliance and mitigate risk, HR professionals should conduct regular audits of Form I-9 to identify any discrepancies or deficiencies. 

Additionally, ongoing training and education programs should be implemented to train the management team with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the verification process effectively.

Penalties for I-9 Noncompliance

Employers are required to complete Form I-9 for every new employee in a timely manner. Penalties for I-9 violation can include:

  • Civil fines and / or criminal penalties (when there is a pattern or practice of violations). Civil fines for I-9 paperwork violations range from $281 to $2,789 per violation and the fine will increase with each additional violation
  • Employers who knowingly hired or continued to hire a worker without work authorization will be fined from $698 to $27,894 per violation
  • Debarment from government contracts


In addition to the Form I-9, some employers may be required to use E-Verify to complete employment verification for their employees. 

E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares information entered by an employer from an employee’s Form I-9 and Employment Eligibility Verification to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration. E-Verify is a federal work authorization program that allows employers to verify employment eligibility to work in the United States, applying to both U.S. and foreign citizens. 

Employers should be aware of whether they are required to complete the E-Verify verification and take proper actions to meet the requirements.

Navigate I-9 Verification with Simplicity

The completion of the Form I-9 is a critical component of the new hire reporting process, requiring meticulous attention to detail and adherence to regulatory guidelines. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, HR professionals can streamline the verification process, mitigate risk, and ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations. 

Embracing best practices in I-9 verification not only protects organizations from legal liabilities but also upholds the integrity of the employment relationship. Consult with an HR outsourcing company for more specific questions your business may encounter.

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Author: Alexa Sentementes

Alexa SentementesAlexa Sentementes graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication & Human Development. Specializing in new employee onboarding, Alexa is dedicated to ensuring the clients' new hires have a seamless onboarding process so they can hit the ground running. 

Topics:Connecticut HRI-9 VerificationForm I-9E-VerifyEmployee Onboarding

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