Business Tips

Form I-9 Requirements for Small Businesses

Thinking of expanding your business with a new hire? Within the first few days of employment, you’ll need to prove that the employee is eligible to work in the U.S. You can verify this through Form I-9. Read on to learn why you need it and how to fill in the boxes.

Why you need Form I-9

Per federal law, employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of all employees hired, recruited or referred for a fee. You can verify your employee’s identity and work authorization through Form I-9. The form is needed whether your employee is a citizen or a non-citizen.

Form I-9 has three sections:

1. Employee Information and Attestation
2. Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification
3. Reverification and Rehires

Keep the completed document on file for either three years after the hire date or a year after termination, whichever date is later. The government may in the future want to inspect the form.

How to fill out Form I-9

Before completing Form I-9, retrieve the latest version from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How to fill out Section 1 of the I-9 Form

Get your employee to fill out this section of the form no later than the first day of employment. The employee will need to provide his or her full legal name, address, date of birth and residency status. Check that all required fields are filled out and that the form is signed and dated.

How to fill out Section 2 of the I-9 Form

You need to complete this section within three days of an employee’s first day that qualifies for payment. Alternatively, you will need to complete the form by the end of the first day of paid work if employing the individual for fewer than three days. Supply information such as the employee’s full name and citizenship or immigration number.

How to fill out Section 3 of the I-9 Form

Fill out Section 3 when your employee’s employment authorization or authorization documentation expires and you need to re-verify his work authorization. You do not need to re-verify U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have furnished Form I-551.

You also do not need to re-verify documents from List B of acceptable documentation forms. If the employee needs to re-supply his documents, record the new document titles, numbers and expiration dates in Section 3 before signing the form.

You may optionally fill out section 3 if you re-hire an employee within three years of the original Form I-9 completion date.

About the author

Manasa Reddigari

Manasa Reddigari has tackled topics ranging from computer software to home remodeling in her more-than-a-decade-long career as a writer and editor. During her stint as a scribe, she's been featured by MileIQ, Trulia, and other leading digital properties. Connect with her on to find out what she's been writing about lately.

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The Growth Center does not constitute professional tax or financial advice. You should contact your own tax or financial professional to discuss your situation.