Employers are required to verify that the individuals we hire are authorized to work in the United States. By the first day of employment, the employee must complete Section I of Form I-9 and by the third day of employment, the employer must complete Section II.

Employees may choose which original documents to present to the company from a list of approved documents developed by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). An employee may choose to present 1 document from List A (which confirms identity and work authorization) OR 1 document each from List B (verification of identity) AND List C (verification of employment authorization).

Sometimes, the employee may present the organization with a receipt for a particular document. In most cases, receipts for documents are not acceptable for purposes of completing Form I-9. Additionally, employers are not permitted to accept receipts of any documents if employment will last less than three days.

Here are the limited circumstances in which the company is permitted to accept a receipt in lieu of an original document:

1)    A replacement for a lost, stolen or damaged document – The employee may present a receipt for any List A, List B or List C document that has been applied for. The receipt is valid for 90 days, after which time the employee must show you the original replacement document for which the receipt was given.

2)    The arrival portion of the Form I-94 or I-94A containing a Temporary I-551 stamp and photograph – A lawful permanent resident may show this List A receipt instead of a Permanent Resident Card (I-551). This receipt is valid until the expiration date of the Temporary I-551 stamp or, if there is no expiration date, one year from the date of issue.

3)    The departure portion of Form I-94 or I-94A with an unexpired refugee admission stamp – A refugee may present this List A receipt to demonstrate both identity and employment authorization. It is valid for 90 days. When the receipt expires, your employee must show you either an Employment Authorization Document (I-766) or a combination of List B document and an unrestricted Social Security card.

When accepting a receipt, you should record the document title in Section 2 under List A, List B or List C as appropriate and then write the word “receipt”, document title and number, and the last day that the receipt is valid.

After the receipt expires, you should pull out the employee’s Form I-9 and cross out the word “receipt” in Section 2 and any accompanying document number. You should then record the number and other required document information from the actual document presented. Finally, initial and date the change.

The USCIS publishes an I-9 Employer Handbook which may be downloaded from: http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/m-274.pdf.

Contributed by Christine Crews, SPHR, is Vice President of Human Resource Services for the Employers Association Forum, Inc. (EAF). EAF is a non-profit corporate membership-based association dedicated to serving the business and HR communities with world-class HR tools, hotlines & legal compliance, news & trends, surveys & economic data, benefits & insurance, risk management, training & consulting, and leadership & organizational development. HCCMO members receive discounted rates on all EAF classroom training at EAF’s training center in Longwood. Click here for currently scheduled programs: http://www.eafinc.org/online_store/training/HCCMO/training_programs.pdf.

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