Form I-9 Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

Form I-9 Frequently Asked Questions – Part 1

By Jennifer Gladstone

All employers are required to complete and store a Form I-9 for each new employee hired to work in the United States. Although this Employment Eligibility Verification Form is mandated and enforced by the federal government, it remains the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the entire Form I-9 is properly completed and signed within 3 business days of the first day of work.  

Despite the form appearing simple on its face, our partners at I-9 Advantage tell us they receive countless questions about the Form I-9 and the rules surrounding its completion. The Screening News Network sat down with Corporate Immigration Counsel, Sathab Abbo, to shed some light on the questions they hear most.

Here is Part 1 of our I-9 FAQ discussion:


JG: What should I do if the name on the document my employee presented to me is spelled slightly differently than the name she entered in Section 1 of the Form I-9?

SA: Ask your employee the reason for the difference in spelling. If it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the individual, you may accept the document.  Also, ask your employee to use his or her full legal name in Section 1. Ask them to do one of the following: Correct Form I-9 and initial the change; provide a different document with the correct spelling; or provide you with a corrected document.

JG: What are the rules on scanning I-9s instead or keeping paper copies of the I-9?

SA: Employers who complete and retain Form I-9 in paper format only must retain the Form I-9 with the original handwritten signatures.  Photocopies or faxed copies of completed Form I-9 are not acceptable to meet this retention requirement.

Employers may choose to scan and upload the original, signed forms to retain them electronically. Once these Forms I-9s are securely stored in electronic format, the original paper Forms I-9 may be destroyed.  Scanned copies must still produce a high degree of legibility and readability when displayed or reproduced on paper.

If an employer has an original Form I-9, the employer must present that form during an audit. If the employer has scanned Forms I-9 and destroyed the originals, those may be presented during an audit.


JG: Can an employer accept and copy a laminated Social Security Card?

SA: A laminated SSA card is acceptable as a List C document as long as it does not include any of the following restrictive wording:


Also, Form I-9 regulations allow employers to choose whether or not to keep copies of documentation that employees present for completing the Form I-9 (including Social Security Cards). Therefore, you may choose to begin or end the practice of keeping copies of documentation at any time, as long as you do so consistently for all employees, regardless of national origin or citizenship status.  



Form I-9 Frequently Asked Questions – Part 2

Form I-9 Frequently Asked Questions – Part 3

And for even more I-9 information, be sure to download our webinar recording with Sathab Abbo:

About the Author

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone

Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.

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