Keeping up with the ins and outs of the Form I-9 process and ensuring compliance can be complex. The smallest details matter and knowing what’s fact versus fiction can be critical to your organization’s I-9 success.
Let’s take a moment to debunk four common I-9 myths.
Myth #1: The Three-Day Rule gives employers up to three business days before they are required to have employees complete the I-9 form.
Fact #1: The Three-Day Rule actually only applies to Section 2 of the I-9 form, which is the employer section. By law, employees must complete Section 1 of the I-9 form by the end of their first day of work. Employers then have up to three business days to receive the required identification documents from the employee and then complete Section 2 of the I-9 form.
Myth #2: The I-9 form is a standard document that doesn’t expire or change.
Fact #2: The I-9 form does expire and new versions are released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) every few years. Employers can make sure that they are using the most recent version of the I-9 form by checking the revision date and the expiration date printed on the bottom right-hand corner of the form. The current I-9 form is dated 10/21/2019, was made mandatory May 2020, and has an expiration date of 10/31/2022.
Myth #3: Employers must keep I-9 records for all current and former employees.
Fact #3: Employers can actually destroy a former employee’s I-9 form one year from the date of termination or three years from the date of hire, depending on which date is later. For example, if an employee was hired in 2008 and left the company in 2009, then the form should be destroyed in 2011 because that's three years after hire and later than one year after termination. It is recommended that employers have a regular cadence of destroying old I-9s as they can often expose an employer to increased potential liability in the event of an audit.
Myth #4: E-Verify is an electronic replacement for the I-9 form.
Fact #4: E-Verify does not replace the required completion of an I-9 form. E-Verify is a system that allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by comparing the information from an employee’s I-9 form with records available to the Social Security Administration or Department of Homeland Security.
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