10 Common Errors Spotted During I-9 Audits

This is the third of a four-part series for HR professionals, called “I-9 Audit and Remediation Best Practices.”  Did you know that an estimated 60-80% of paper I-9s are missing, incomplete or have errors? That's according to an industry expert with Jackson Lewis. So, we've compiled a list of common I-9 errors you will likely encounter when reviewing your I-9s.

10 Common I-9 Errors

  1. I-9s are missing. You must have a completed I-9 on file for all employees hired after November 6, 1986.  You must keep Form I-9 for terminated employees for three years after the hire date or one year after the termination date, whichever date is later.

Section 1:

  1. Employee personal information is not complete. Employee's must provide their full legal name. For example, an employee should include all last names if he or she has more than one.  An employee should also include a middle initial if he or she has a middle name. You can find additional details and instructions for completing Section 1 correctly on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website (USCIS).
  2. Citizenship status not identified. Employees must identify their citizenship status by checking one -- and only one -- of the boxes.  An Alien Registration Number/USCIS Number or Form I-94 Admission Number or Foreign Passport Number and country of issuance must be provided by those selecting a status as "alien authorized to work."
  3. Employee signature is missing. Employees must sign and date Section 1.
  4. Preparer/translator use not identified. Employees (or the preparer/translator) must check one of the preparer/translator boxes:
  • "I did not use a preparer or translator." or
  • “A preparer(s) and/or translator(s) assisted the employee in completing Section 1.”

Section 2:

  1. Failure to include employee information from Section 1. The top of page 2 of the Form I-9 must include employee information from Section 1.
  2. Over or under documentation. Section 2 completers must accept exactly one document from list A or one document from list B and one document from list C. Employers should not force employees to provide certain documentation. Employees have the right to provide any of the supporting documents they select as long as the documents are valid and fit the requirements of Form I-9.  Over-documentation is including more than the required documents on Form I-9 and can be considered discriminatory.
  3. Proper document not entered into the proper list.  Complete document information must be provided on the correct corresponding list.
  4. Employer certification not completed within 3 days of date of hire.  Sign and date Section 2 within three business days of the employee's date of hire.

Section 3:

  1. Employee personal information is not complete. Employers must complete Section 3 when an employee’s employment authorization or documentation of employment authorization has expired ("reverification"). Employers may complete Section 3 for rehires within three years of the original I-9 date. You may also use Section 3 if your employee has a legal name change. When completing Section 3, you must also complete the last name, first name and middle initial fields in the Employee Info from the Section 1 area at the top of Section 2.
Stay tuned for fourth, and final, post in the "Internal I-9 Audit and Remediation Best Practices" series for tips on correcting these common I-9 issues and more. Furthermore, if you missed our last post, "I-9 Remediation: 5 Tips to Help Reduce Risk," we cover how to prepare for an I-9 self-audit.

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