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Frequently Asked Questions about Form I-9

As a trainer with the Corporate Immigration Compliance Institute, I am often asked specific questions regarding situations that I-9 Administrators run into with the Form I-9 and its processes. Below I am providing actual questions and answers I have encountered through I-9 Administrator and Immigration Compliance Officer training sessions that will hopefully act as a quick reference guide to I-9 Administrators dealing with similar issues.

1. Section 3 Uses

Q: “In regards to Section 3, how do I go about completing an I-9 if I am rehiring a person whose I-9 has not yet been destroyed, but their work authorization has since expired?”

A: If you are rehiring an employee who is no longer authorized to work and/or their employment authorization documentation has since expired and it requires re-verification, request that the employee present an unexpired List A or List C document to establish work authorization. Next, utilize Section 3 for both rehiring and re-verification purposes by entering the document information and the date of rehire in the spaces provided in Section 3. If the current version of Form I-9 is different from the previously completed Form I-9, you must complete Section 3 on the current version. Sign and date Section 3.

2. Laminated Social Security Card

Q: “May we accept laminated social security cards?”

A: It appears that guidance is lacking from USCIS on this issue. An excerpt from a Q&A between immigration attorneys and USCIS regarding laminated social security cards demonstrates how little information is available on this issue. LINK (See Questions 31-33) There is no official guidance on I-9 Central (USCIS webpage for I-9 questions) or in the M-274 regarding laminated social security cards.

The rule used to be that if the card itself said “Not valid if laminated” then the card was not valid for List C purposes, so I would stick with this latest rule. Your obligation to verify that the document is genuine based on your training still exists whether the document is laminated or not.

3. Unsigned Social Security Card

Q: “Is an unsigned Social Security card okay for I-9 purposes?”

A: Yes. A signature on the card is not required for the card to be valid. You may accept an unsigned Social Security card as long as the card reasonably appears to be genuine.

4. How Do I Set Up E-Verify?

Q: “I am a new I-9 Administrator for my company. I learned in training that I will be administering E-Verify once I complete the Form I-9 on the employee. Where do I get my E-Verify log-in information or how do I log in?”

A: The Company’s program administrator will have to log in and designate you as a user. When a new user is created, it will ask for that person’s email. You will receive an email with your user ID and a temporary password along with further instructions. As I mentioned during training, you will be required to take the E-Verify online tutorial and pass a knowledge test before being able to use the system. Once you have completed that, you will be an authorized user for your company. If no one in the office has the log-in information, you can reach E-Verify customer service by phone at 888-464-4218 or by e-mail at The E-Verify rules do not condone the sharing of passwords and user information, so it is important that you have your own log-in information.

5. Seasonal Employee Issues

Q: “We have seasonal help. Should we make a new I-9 for them every time they are rehired?”

A: It depends on whether or not your seasonal help simply goes inactive during the time they are gone or they are terminated.

  • INACTIVE: If the employee is inactive, then nothing needs to be done because the employee was never terminated in the first place.

  • TERMINATED: If the employee is terminated at the end of their seasonal work every year, then when they are rehired for the next season, you can remove that employee’s I-9 from the terminated binder of company I-9s, and complete Section 3, Part B, which is the portion for rehire. Remember: If the employee’s I-9 is older version (only one page), use Page 2 of the NEW form I-9 by recording the employee’s name at the top of Section 2 and completing Section 3 with the date of rehire and your signature and the date. You will “rehire” them for I-9 purposes every season, so it is possible that you could have multiple Page 2s for each of those seasonal workers

6. Section 1, Alien Authorized to Work

Q: “The instructions for the Form I-9 say that an employee may record “N/A” as the expiration date for their employment authorization in Section 1. Why and how is this possible if this spot is reserved for employees who are not citizens or permanent residents with the indefinite right to work in the United States?”

A: Individuals who are from the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Palau, refugees, or asylees are examples of people who would record “N/A” in the expiration date portion of Section 1. Individuals in these statuses are authorized to work indefinitely, but they are not citizens or permanent residents, so they need to check the fourth box in Section 1, which is the “Alien Authorized to Work” box.”

7. Document Number for Employment Authorization Cards

Q: “There are two numbers on the face of the employment authorization card, an A/USCIS Number and a Receipt Number. Which document number should we record in Section 2 for these documents?”

A: You can use whichever number you would like since they both identify the document and person, but we say to be consistent with whatever choice is made by the company, i.e. all I-9 Administrators should be using either the A/USCIS Number or the receipt Number. It is a good practice to use the A/USCIS Number since it is the first number to appear on the card and it has fewer digits, which means fewer possible mistakes in transcribing the number onto Section 2 of the Form I-9.

8. Administering I-9s for Remote Employees

Q: “I know the I-9 Administrator who completes I-9s for the company needs to be trained, so can I do I-9 Administration through Skype for our company’s remote locations?”

A: No. Most of the time technology enhances efficiency and makes our lives easier, however, in this case, it does not aid the I-9 Administrator. The purpose of the Form I-9 and having a trained I-9 Administrator complete Section 2 of the Form I-9 is so that a company representative can physically be with the employee to verify whether the original documents presented by the employee reasonably appear genuine and show the identity of the employee. By remotely completing this process via Skype or webcam, the main purpose of I-9 administration is frustrated.

Instead, the company should train an I-9 Administrator for that remote location or have the employee complete the I-9 at the main office before going to work at the remote location.

9. Pre-filling information into Section 2

Q: “Is it okay to type in the company’s information into Section 2 versus handwriting it every time I hire someone new?”

A: Yes, you may type in the information in Section 2 such as the full legal business name, physical address of the company, and I-9 Administrator’s full legal name. The I-9 Administrator must still physically sign Section 2, however.

This method seems to be more efficient to Human Resources personnel, but it has some drawbacks and creates inefficiencies during the company’s annual I-9 audit. For example:

  • If you plan to pre-type information in Section 2 and keep a stack of printed I-9s in your desk drawer, you run the risk of not using the current Form I-9 every time you hire someone.

  • Pre-typing the I-9 Administrator’s name can also be an issue if other I-9 Administrators choose to use this semi-pre-prepared form and do not know how to make proper corrections on the Form I-9.

We advise that all I-9 Administrators visit and print the Form I-9, instructions, and list of acceptable documents each time an I-9 is completed. The I-9 Administrator may still type in the basic Section 2 information, but this is not in advance of the hiring, so many of the issues can be avoided.

10. Spanish Forms I-9

Q:"There is a Spanish language version of the Form I-9. Can I just use this form for my Spanish-speaking employees?"

A: No. The Spanish language version of the Form I-9 is only valid for use in Puerto Rico. It is acceptable, however, to use the Spanish version of the form as a reference guide. Some employers have printed the Spanish language form, instructions, and list of acceptable documents and laminated them for use with employees who do not speak or read English.

Danielle Atchison

Business Immigration Attorney


NOT LEGAL ADVICE: This article is for educational purposes only, it is not legal advice that may be applicable to your situation

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is general information regarding law and policy that may be applicable to your particular HR issue or legal problem. Information provided in this blog, or any of our other public posts, does not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific advice you can rely upon, please contact your attorney.


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