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

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 sometimes see employers confused on its proper application.

To simplify, I explain it to my clients in the following way with these 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.

Other important points to consider:

  • 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.

  • Describe the rules and destruction procedures in your written Employer Immigration Compliance Plan, Policies and Procedures.

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

  • 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.

  • It is also recommend that each business organization have one certified Compliance Officer and two I-9 Administrators handling these documents.

Register for your training today!

Compliance Officer Training : CLICK HERE

Form I-9 Admin Training: CLICK HERE

Mira Mdivani, Business Immigration Attorney MDIVANI CORPORATE IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM 7007 College Blvd., # 460, Overland Park, KS 66211 USA Phone :: 913.317.6200 Email ::

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