Employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all their workers who were hired after November 6, 1986, by completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), publishes the Form I-9 and accompanying guidance. Some employers use E-Verify, a service of DHS and the Social Security Administration, in addition to Form I-9. E-Verify is an electronic system that compares a worker’s Form I-9 information with government databases to verify employment eligibility.
Employers should not discriminate against workers during the Form I-9 and E-Verify processes. They should not request more or different documents than are required to establish a worker's identity and eligibility to work in the United States, tell workers which document(s) to present, or reject documents that appear to be reasonably genuine upon their face because of the worker's citizenship status or national origin. Employers must accept all documents that are sufficient to complete Form I-9 as long as they appear reasonably genuine on their face and relate to the employee. For example, individuals who possess a valid U.S. driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card may present those documents to satisfy Form I-9 requirements. Similarly, employers may not require lawful permanent residents to produce their Permanent Resident Care, also known as a "green card" and may not require U.S. citizens who appear "foreign" to produce birth certificates. Nor may employers require a DHS-issued document in order to run an E-Verify query. An employee must be allowed to choose which acceptable document(s) to present for Form I-9 both at the time of hire, and after hire if additional verification of the employee's work authorization is required.
Employees who feel they have been treated unfairly during the Form I-9 or E-Verify processes based on their citizenship status or national origin, and employers with questions about preventing discrimination in employment eligibility verification may call OSC's hotlines below:
Worker Hotline: 1-800-255-7688
Employer Hotline: 1-800-255-8155
Teletypewriter (TTY) for hearing impaired: 202-616-5525 & 1-800-237-2515
OSC's contact information is also listed on both the Form I-9 and its Instructions, the USCIS Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), and the I-9 Central website.
Below are additional resources for workers and employers:
|Updated August 2016|