Employers verify each worker's identity and employment eligibility by completing the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification at the time of hire. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), publishes the Form I-9 and accompanying instructions. Some employers also use E-Verify, an electronic system that compares a worker’s Form I-9 information with government databases to verify employment eligibility.
Federal law requires employers to follow Form I-9 and E-Verify rules consistently, regardless of an employee's citizenship, immigration status, or national origin. This anti-discrimination law is found at 8 U.S.C. § 1324b. The regulations for this law are at 28 C.F.R. Part 44.
The Form I-9 instructions explain that employees can present any documentation from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. At the time of hire, all employees can choose to present either an unexpired List A document, or an unexpired List B document together with an unexpired List C document. The Form I-9 instructions tell employers to accept all documents that are sufficient to complete Form I-9 as long as they reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee. For example, under the Lists of Acceptable Documents, attached to the Form I-9, individuals may present a valid U.S. driver's license and unrestricted Social Security card to satisfy Form I-9 requirements. Under the law that the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER) enforces, employers are not allowed to request more or different documents than are required to establish a worker's identity and eligibility to work in the United States, request a specific document or reject documents that appear to be reasonably genuine on their face based on a worker's citizenship status or national origin. You can learn more by contacting IER and at 8 U.S.C. § 1324b(a)(6). For example, under this part of the law employers must not require lawful permanent residents to produce a Permanent Resident, also known as a "green card," and must not require U.S. citizens who appear "foreign" to produce a birth certificate. If the Form I-9 instructions require an employer to reverify an employee the instructions allow the employee to present any valid List A document or List C document for reverification.
Employers that participate in the E-Verify program must use E-Verify consistently and without regard to an employee’s citizenship, immigration status, or national origin to avoid violating 8 U.S.C. § 1324b or the E-Verify rules. Discrimination in the E-Verify process, such as requiring a DHS-issued document from all non-U.S. citizens to create an E-Verify case, violates 8 U.S.C. § 1324b and the E-Verify rules.
Call IER if you are an employee and feel your employer has treated you differently during the Form I-9 or E-Verify process based on your citizenship status or national origin, or if you are an employer with questions about preventing discrimination in the employment eligibility verification process:
Worker Hotline: 1-800-255-7688
Employer Hotline: 1-800-255-8155
Teletypewriter (TTY) for hearing impaired: 1-800-237-2515
Below are additional resources for workers and employers:
Laws and regulations:
The information on this webpage is not intended to be a final agency action, has no legally binding effect, and has no force or effect of law. This webpage may be rescinded or modified at the Department’s discretion, in accordance with applicable laws. The Department’s guidance documents, including this webpage, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities beyond what is required by the terms of the applicable statutes, regulations, or binding judicial precedent. For more information, see "Memorandum for All Components: Prohibition of Improper Guidance Documents," from Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III, November 16, 2017.