Hiring Employees and Form I-9 Requirements for Small Business: What do you need, Your Responsibilities, and Mistakes to Avoid

Onboarding paperwork can be overwhelming for a small business and for the new employee joining the company.  On a new hire’s first day of work, they’re bombarded with a towering stack of papers to fill out, many of which are legally mandated. 

Although some paperwork might be specific to your company, there are a few forms that employers are legally required to maintain. One such document is Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification. If you’ve wondering why you’re required to have one on file for each employee—this article can help.

Let’s explore what employment eligibility means and why it matters for your small business. 

What is Form I-9 for Employment Eligibility Verification?

Form I-9 documents the verification of the eligibility of an individual to work in the United States. You can find the I-9 form for download on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

According to the USCIS, before any person can be employed in the U.S., he or she must attest to his or her employment authorization and provide the employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. In order to do this, employees are required to submit documents alongside Form I-9 which show evidence of their eligibility.  The employer cannot require specific documents for this purpose.  An employee can provide a document from List A or a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

All U.S. employers are required to properly complete a Form I-9 for each individual hired for employment in the United States. This includes both citizens and noncitizens. Under certain circumstances, a person who is not authorized for work can obtain a work authorization document prior to employment (EAD).

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