Avoid Common I-9 Mistakes

Compliance with government regulations isn’t always easy. In the case of the Form I-9—Employment Eligibility Verification—your applicant tracking system (ATS) can help simplify things for you.

What is the Form I-9?

The Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of workers in the U.S., and has been around since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Here are some key things to know about the Form I-9:

  • All U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of the Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the U.S. This includes citizens and noncitizens.
  • Employees and employers, or authorized representatives of the employer, must complete the form.
  • On the form, an employee must attest to his or her employment authorization. The employee must also present his or her employer with acceptable document(s) that provide evidence of their identity and employment authorization.
  • The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) that an employee presents, and determine whether the document(s) appear to be genuine, and relate to the employee.
  • Employer representative must then record the document information on the Form I-9.
  • Employers must retain the Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.

What documents can employees use to verify their identity?

There are a number of documents that workers can use to verify their identities, including a U.S. passport or passport card, permanent resident card, or an alien registration card. You can read the entire list here 

Form I-9 Changes

Occasionally, changes happen to the Form I-9, or to the list of acceptable documents that employees can provide to prove their employment eligibility.

When these types of changes happen, you want your ATS to be able to capture current information and use the correct version of the form.

What should I do if the wrong version of Form I-9 was completed? 

As long as the Form I-9 documentation presented was acceptable under the Form I-9 rules that were current at the time of hire, employers may correct the error by doing the following:

  • Stapling the outdated completed form to a blank current version; and
  • Signing the current blank version noting why the current blank version is attached (e.g., wrong edition was used at time of hire).

Or, employers may write an explanation, and attach it to the outdated completed Form I-9, explaining that the wrong form was filled out correctly and in good faith.

Where can I learn more about self-audits?

Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE), and the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) in the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice have provided joint guidance to help employers perform internal audits that comply with legal obligations under the laws these agencies enforce.

View the Guidance for Employers Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits.


 One way to avoid having to handle an influx of forms is to focus on retaining your current workforce. Our Spotlight, “Improve Employee Retention,” sheds light on ways that companies and organizations can keep their focus on retaining key employees, especially in this competitive hiring environment.

Read the Report


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Avoid common Form I-9 mistakes

Some common mistakes the employees make completing Section 1 include the following:

  • Employee does not enter name, other last names used (such as maiden name), address or date of birth
  • Employee does not enter A-number/USCIS Number after selecting “A Lawful Permanent Resident.”
  • Employee does not enter A-Number/USCIS Number or Form I-94 admission number after selecting “An alien authorized to work until.”
  • Employee does not sign or date the attestation.

Some common mistakes that employers make when filling out Section 2 of Form I-9 include the following:

  • Employer does not enter the employee’s last name, first name, middle initial and citizenship/immigration status in the “Employee Info from Section 1” area at the top of Section 2.
  • Not entering acceptable List A document or acceptable List B and List C documents; and
  • Not completing Section 2 on time, either:
  • By the third business day after the date the employee began employment; or
  • If the employee is hired for three business days or less, at the time the employee started employment.

You can learn more about the Form I-9 by reviewing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274).


 As your dedicated applicant tracking system, myStaffingPro can help you get the most out of the entire hiring process, from requisition through retention, as you manage timing, schedules, paperwork and more. Contact a representative today, and find out how we can help your hiring workflow.

Contact myStaffingPro

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