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How Long Does An Employer Have to Retain I-9 Forms?

October 17, 2016


The rule for the Form I-9 retention is this: Once the employee is terminated, the I-9 can be destroyed three years from the date of hire or one year from date of termination. The rule is simple, yet, we sometime see employers confused on how it applies. To make it easy, I explain it to my clients in the following five steps:


  1. Make sure employee is TERMINATED.

  2. Calculate Date of Hire + 3 years

  3. Calculate Date of Termination + 1 year

  4. Determine which date is LATER.

  5. That LATER date is the date the I-9 can be destroyed.

Important Practice pointers to consider:


  1. 1. Make sure the employee is actually terminated first! 










    I have seen employers who begin destroying I-9 while the worker is still employed. Terminate, then calculate. 

  2. Describe the rule and destruction procedure in your written Employer Immigration Compliance Plan, Policies and Procedures

  3. Schedule regular destruction dates (e.g. once a month).

  4. Document! You do not want to be destroying documents Enron-style. Enter the information into a file which documents the destruction date calculation, and note when the I-9 was destroyed and who destroyed it.

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Mira Mdivani, Business Immigration Attorney

7007 College Blvd., # 460, Overland Park, KS 66211 USA
Phone :: 913.317.6200
Email ::

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