I-9 Frequently Asked Questions

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What does the law require of WWU?

  • Ensure an 1-9 form is completed for all employees hired after November 6, 1986.
  • Carefully review document(s) to establish identity and eligibility to work,
  • Retain completed form for 3 years after employment is terminated (WWU retention requirement), and
  • Make completed forms readily available to authorized federal officers for inspection.

What are acceptable List A documents?

In addition to the documents listed on page 2 of the form, the New Passport Card is also acceptable.

Must employees provide their social security number on the form?

Providing their Social Security number is voluntary.

You may not ask an employee to provide you with a specific document with his or her Social Security number on it - to avoid unlawful discrimination.

When must the I-9 form be completed?

  • Every time you hire any person to perform labor or services in return for wages or other remuneration. Remuneration is anything of value given in exchange for labor or services rendered by an employee, including food and lodging.
  • Section 1 must be completed by the employee on the date the employee begins work.
  • Section 2 must be completed by the hiring department within 3 business days of the hire.
  • If you hire a person for less than 3 business days, Sections 1 and 2 of the Form I-9 must be fully completed on the first day of work.
  • If an employee presents a receipt for a replacement document(s), he or she must produce the actual document(s) within 90 days of the date employment begins.

Can an I-9 be completed before the actual start date?

Yes. Any section of the form may be completed early, but only after an official start date has been determined between the hiring department and new hire.

What do I do if a new employee does not present appropriate documentation within 3 days?

If the employee fails to present appropriate original documentation within the 3-day period,

  • Do not allow the employee to perform any work.
  • Contact Human Resources at 360-650-3774 immediately for assistance on the next step.
  • Exception: The employee may present a receipt for a required lost, mutilated or destroyed document indicating he/she has submitted an application for a replacement document. In that case, the employee is given 90 days to provide the documentation. Please contact Human Resources at 650-3774 to notify an employee has presented a receipt in lieu of original documentation.

If he/she fails to present appropriate original documentation after 90 days, follow the bulleted steps above.

Who does not need to complete an I-9 form?

  • Volunteers who do not receive any kind of remuneration. Remuneration is anything of value given in exchange for labor or services rendered by an employee, including food and lodging,
  • Employees hired before November 7, 1986, who are continuing in their employment and have a reasonable expectation of employment at all times,
  • Independent contractors, or
  • Workers who are employed and provided to you by a temporary employment agency.

Is it my responsibility to ensure the employee completed Section 1 properly?

Yes, it is the hiring department's responsibility to ensure the employee completed Section 1 properly.

  • Ensure all information is printed legibly
  • Ensure all boxes are completed with the exception of "Maiden Name" which is filled in only when applicable and the Social Security number which is optional.

What if the employee cannot read English well enough to complete Section 1?

If the employee cannot complete section 1 without assistance or if he or she needs the Form I-9 translated, someone may assist him or her. The preparer or translator must read the form to the employee, assist him or her in completing Section 1, and have the employee sign or mark the form in the appropriate place. The preparer or translator must then complete the Preparer/Translator Certification block on the Form I-9.

Does the employee decide which documents to present?

Yes, the employee may choose off the list of options. You must examine one document from List A, or one from List B and one from List C.

Can expired documents be accepted?

No. Expired documents are no longer accepted for Form I-9. However, you may accept Employment Authorization Documents (Forms I-766) and Permanent Resident Cards (Forms I-551) that appear to be expired on their face, but have been extended by USCIS.

Can I accept a Social Security Card that says Not Valid for Employment or Invalid Without DHS authorization?

The employee must present:

  • An additional document from List C to prove employment eligibility, or
  • A document from List A instead of a combination of List B and List C documents.

Can a receipt be accepted in lieu of an actual document?

Yes, under certain circumstances. See page 6 of the Government's Official I-9 Handbook.

What is my responsibility concerning the authenticity of document(s) presented to me?

You must examine the document(s) and, if they reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and relate to the person presenting them, you must accept them. If a document does not reasonably appear on its face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it, you must not accept it. Guidance is provided on page 33 of the Government's I-9 Handbook.

May I accept a fax or photocopy of a document presented by an employee?

No. Employees must present original documents. The only exception is an employee may present a certified copy of a birth certificate under List C.

Can or do I make copies of the documents presented by the employee?

No. Do not make copies of a completed I-9 form or the documents presented by the employee.

Do I have to complete a new I-9 form when a temporary employee becomes permanent?

A new I-9 does not need to be completed. Satellite offices should contact Human Resources to verify a completed I-9 is on file and not needing re-verification.

Do I have to complete a new I-9 form for a student employee if the student has worked for a different department?

Since the process for student employees is decentralized, each department must complete and retain the I-9 forms for all student employees they hire.

When do I have to re-verify eligibility status for employee's with temporary work authorizations?

Re-verification of an employee's employment eligibility on the Form I-9 must happen no later than the date the employee's work authorization expires.

If an employee marks the 3rd box in section one of the I-9 form indicating that they are an alien authorized to work until a certain date, the hiring department should be sending or faxing a copy of the completed I-9 form to Human Resources. Human Resources will track those employees requiring future re-verification and will contact the hiring department when the time comes to complete the re-verification process.

If an employee has a future expiring work authorization, when should they initiate a request to USCIS for an extension?

To maintain continuous employment eligibility, an employee with temporary work authorization should apply for new work authorization at least 90 days before the current expiration date. If USCIS fails to adjudicate the application for employment authorization within 90 days, then the employee will be authorized for employment on Form I-766 for a period not to exceed 240 days.

What if the employee is a re-hire?

A re-hire is an employee whose employment (not job) has been terminated in the Banner system.

You may re-verify the employee in Section 3 of the original Form I-9 if:

  • The employee's Form I-9 is the version dated June 5, 2007 or a more current version,
  • You rehire the person within three years of the date that the Form I-9 was originally completed, and
  • The employee is still authorized to work.
  • If you used a version of the Form I-9 dated before June 5, 2007 when you initially verified the employee, you must complete a new Form I-9 upon rehire.

What if the employee is a minor and cannot present a List A document or identity document from List B?

See instructions on page 8 of Government's Official I-9 Handbook.

What if the employee is a person with a disability that cannot present a List A document or an identity document from List B?

See instructions on page 9 of Government's Official I-9 Handbook.

What do I do with the completed form?

Student employee I-9 forms need to be maintained in a secured location by the hiring department for three years after the employee's termination date. Departments must shred I-9 forms that are no longer required to be maintained.

Satellite offices must forward the original I-9 forms for classified, professional staff and faculty in a sealed envelope marked "confidential" to Human Resources MS 5221.

What is expected in the event of an audit?

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Office of Special Council (OSC) and the Department of Labor (DOL) give employers three day's notice prior to inspecting retained Form I-9. The department must make Form I-9 available upon request at the location where DHS, OSC or DOL requests them. If you refuse or delay an inspection, WWU will be in violation of DHS retention requirements.

What actions are subject to federal penalties?

Document abuse can be broadly categorized into four types of conduct:

  • Improperly requesting that employees produce more documents than are required by the Form I-9 to establish the employee's identity and work authorization;
  • Improperly requesting that employees produce a particular document, such as a "green card" to establish identity or work eligibility;
  • Improperly rejecting documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and belong to the employee presenting them;
  • Improperly treating groups of applicants differently when completing the Form I-9, such as requiring certain groups of employees that look or sound "foreign" to produce particular documents the employee does not require other employees to produce.

These practices may constitute unlawful abuse and should be avoided when verifying employment eligibility.


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Page Updated 06.03.2013