I-9 & E-Verify FAQs
- Read OIS's Memo About the Vanderbilt I-9 & E-Verify Project
- What is Form I-9?
- How do I complete the I-9?
- Who needs to complete a Form I-9?
- Who is responsible for completing the different sections of the Form I-9?
- Can the Form I-9 be filled out before the job is offered?
- When should Section 1 be completed?
- When should Section 2 be completed?
- When should Section 3 be completed?
- Can photocopies be accepted?
- What is the new portability provision for an H-1B visa holder?
- If I have filed a petition for an extension of status for my employee, can I continue employing him or her?
- How does an employer fulfill the Form I-9 verification requirement under the 240-day rule?
- Does this new portability provision affect the way the company completes the Form I-9?
- Are there any exceptions as to which employees must complete the Form I-9?
- What documentation can an F-1 OPT student, who has filed either an H-1B petition or a STEM OPT extension, show to satisfy Form I-9 requirements?
- Where are Vanderbilt's I-9 sites located?
What is Form I-9?
Form I-9 is the Employment Eligibility Verification Form issued by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. By law all U.S. employers are responsible for completion and retention of Forms I-9 for all U.S. citizen as well as non-U.S. citizen employees hired for employment in the U.S. on or after November 7, 1986. This process, which includes an employee’s attestation of work authorization and an employer’s review of the documents presented by that employee to demonstrate identity and work authorization, is the means by which U.S. employers document that they have verified whether a newly hired employee is eligible to work in the U.S. The employee and employer both must provide information and signatures as indicated on the form.
How do I obtain the Form I-9?
At Vanderbilt, the I-9 is done electronically. Information on the I-9 process and a link to the electronic I-9 site can be found at Vanderbilt's I-9 homepage.
Who needs to complete a Form I-9?
Every newly hired employee at a company must complete the Form I-9, including citizens and nationals of the United States. Employees hired at Vanderbilt on or before November 7, 1986 do not have to complete an I-9. Both the employer and the employee are responsible for completing certain sections of the Form I-9.
Who is responsible for completing the different sections of the Form I-9?
The employee is obligated to complete Section 1, Employee Information and Verification, of the Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment. Section 1 can be completed any time after the employee accepts the job offer but no later than the first day of employment. The employer is obligated, after physically examining the documents presented by the employee, to complete Section 2, Employer Review and Verification, and Section 3, Updating and Re-verification (if applicable), of the Form I-9. The employer must complete Section 2 no later than the third business day of employment.
Can the Form I-9 be filled out before the job is offered?
An individual should not complete a Form I-9 for an employer until after he or she has accepted the position. If a company has an individual complete the Form I-9 but no offer is extended, then the company could be faced with a claim of discrimination. This is due to the fact that the Form I-9 asks about citizenship and alienage, and it requires the production of documents that might indicate national origin.
When should Section 1 be completed?
Section 1 of the Form I-9 must be completed and signed by every newly hired employee on or before the date of hire, regardless of his or her immigration status. The employee must attest that he or she is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or is otherwise authorized to work for the employer in the United States. The employee must present the employer with documentation establishing identity and employment eligibility in accordance with the List of Acceptable Documents on the Form I-9.
When should Section 2 be completed?
Section 2 of the Form I-9 must be completed and signed by every employer within three business days of the hire. If the employment relationship will last less than three days, then section two must be completed at the time of hire. Section two must be completed and signed by every employer whether he or she employs thousands of employees or only one. The employer must ask each employee to provide documents that prove both his/her identity and his/her authorization to work. Employees must present original documents. Photocopies of documents cannot be accepted for Form I-9 purposes.
When should Section 3 be completed?
Employers should complete Section 3 of the Form I-9 when updating and re-verifying the employment authorization of an employee whose previous valid authorization has expired. Section 3 does not apply to employees who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Section 3 should only be completed when the employee denotes that he or she is an alien authorized to work until a date certain in Section 1 of the Form I-9. For example, when a USCIS-issued employment authorization document is scheduled to expire, the employer must re-verify that the employee has renewed his/her authorization to work and has a valid document from either List A or one from both List B and List C in his/her possession. Employers CANNOT specify which document(s) they will accept from an employee. Only the employee can choose the acceptable document(s) to provide. Original documents must be provided by the employee; photocopies are not acceptable for I-9 purposes.
In addition, Section 3 can also be completed if an employee is updating their information due to a name change or if the employee is rehired within two years of termination of prior employment and the personal information remains the same as on the previous I-9.
Can photocopies be accepted?
No, photocopies of documents cannot be accepted for Form I-9 purposes. Employees must present original documents. The only exception is that a newly hired employee may present a certified copy of a birth certificate issued by a state, county, municipal authority or outlying possession of the United States bearing an official seal. Beginning October 31, 2010, only certified copies of Puerto Rico birth certificates issued on or after July 1, 2010, are acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.
What is the new portability provision for an H-1B visa holder?
These new portability provisions allow a nonimmigrant alien, who was previously issued an H-1B visa or who was otherwise accorded H-1B status, to begin working for a new H-1B employer as soon as the new employer files an H-1B petition for the alien, rather than having to wait for USCIS approval.
If I have filed a petition for an extension of status for my employee, can I continue employing him or her?
Immigration regulations authorize employment with the same employer for up to 240 days after a non-frivolous petition for extension of status is filed. The regulation limits the 240-day rule to the following non-immigrant visa classifications: A-3, E, G-5, H, I, J-1, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, R, and TN. OIS is responsible for completing or updating the I-9 for employees with extended work authorization under these regulations.
How would an employer fulfill the Form I-9 verification requirement under the 240-day rule?
Immigration regulations authorize employment with the same employer for up to 240 days after a non-frivolous petition for extension of status is filed. While the employment is authorized, there is no provision on the Form I-9 for the documentation of this fact. Therefore, employers may want to follow whatever documentation procedures they use for the 240-day grace period. OIS documents this information on behalf of Vanderbilt University.
Does this new portability provision affect the way the company completes the Form I-9?
The Form I-9 contains no provision for this authorization. OIS has created a process for documenting this information. International employees using the portability provision should complete their I-9 with an OIS advisor.
Are there any exceptions to completing the Form I-9?
Yes. Independent contractors or those persons who were hired prior to November 7, 1986 are exempt from completing the Form I-9.
What documentation can an F-1 OPT student, who has filed either an H-1B petition or a STEM OPT extension, show to satisfy Form I-9 requirements?
An F-1 student who has timely filed Form I-765 for a 17-month STEM extension of his/her post-completion OPT, and whose EAD (Form I-766) has expired, is authorized to continue working while the Form I-765 application is pending for a period not to exceed 180 days.
- The following documents constitute the equivalent of an unexpired EAD under List A, # 4 of the Form I-9:
- The expired Form I-766 EAD;
- The USCIS receipt notice (Form I-797, Notice of Action) showing a timely filing of the Form I-765 extension application; and
- Form I-20 updated to show that the DSO recommended the STEM extension for a work authorization period beginning on the date after the expiration of the EAD.
This combination of documents satisfies the Form I-9 document presentation requirements for 180 days (or less if the application is denied beforehand). If the 17-month STEM extension is approved, the student should receive a new Form I-766 EAD within the 180-day period.
F-1 OPT students who have filed an H-1B petition should have a “cap-gap” Form I-20 from their DSO which will show that the student’s employment authorization has been extended and the effective dates. The following documents constitute the equivalent of an unexpired EAD under List A, # 4 of the Form I-9:
- The expired Form I-766 EAD;
- A “cap-gap” Form I-20 endorsed to show that the student’s employment authorization is still valid; and
- The USCIS receipt notice (Form I-797, Notice of Action) showing receipt of the H-1B petition.
This combination of documents satisfies the Form I-9 document presentation requirements until September 30th, or until the date of the denial of the H-1B petition. If the receipt notice has not yet been issued, the expired EAD and the “cap-gap” Form I-20 are sufficient. This combination of documents satisfies the Form I-9 until the expiration date noted on the “cap-gap” Form I-20, but not later than September 30th. If the student presents a “cap-gap” Form I-20 without a receipt notice, the employer must re-verify upon the expiration date noted on the I-20.
Where are Vanderbilt's I-9 sites located?
A list of Vanderbilt's I-9 sites can be found at the Vanderbilt I-9 homepage. You can get directions to any of the I-9 sites through Vanderbilt Campus Maps. Parking may be available in some areas but most employees should be able to find an I-9 site within easy walking distance.
- What is e-Verify?
- Can I verify the immigration status of a new hire that is not a U.S. citizen?
- What information is required to conduct an E-Verify initial verification?
- What is the required timeframe for conducting an employment eligibility check on a newly hired employee?
- When may an employer initiate a query under E-Verify?
- I was run through E-Verify by a previous employer. Do I need to be run through E-Verify again with Vanderbilt?
- I was run through E-Verify by Vanderbilt and now I've changed departments or updated my I-9. Do I need to be run through E-Verify again?
- Must Vanderbilt verify all new employees? What are the exceptions to this requirement?
- I don't need an SSN for I-9 purposes. Why must I provide my SSN on the Form I-9 for E-Verify?
- I was told that I have a Tentative Non-Confirmation (TNC). This sounds serious, what does it mean? Must I stop working?
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an internet-based system, owned by the Dept. of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration. The E-Verify system allows an employer, using information reported on an employee's Form I-9, to confirm whether the employee is eligible to work in the USA. For most employers, the use of E-Verify is voluntary and limited to determining the employment eligibility of new hires only. Due to our designation as a Federal Contractor, Vanderbilt University is required to use E-Verify. Vanderbilt has also decided to verify all existing employees through the E-Verify system.
Can I verify the immigration status of a new hire that is not a U.S. citizen?
No. E-Verify only verifies a new hire’s employment eligibility, not his or her immigration status.
What information is required to conduct an E-Verify initial verification?
After hiring a new employee and completing the Form I-9, required for all new hires (regardless of E-Verify participation), Vanderbilt's I-9 electronic system will submit a query based on the information on the I-9. In most cases, the E-Verify system will provide a response to the initial query within seconds of submitting the query. However, sometimes the response may take longer especially if immigration documents are presented. Please note that any List B document used on the I-9 must contain a photograph for E-Verify purposes.
What is the required timeframe for conducting an employment eligibility check on a newly hired employee?
Employers must make verification inquiries within three business days of the first day of employment.
When may an employer initiate a query under E-Verify?
The earliest the employer may initiate a query is after an individual accepts an offer of employment and after the employee and employer complete the Form I-9. The employer must initiate the query no later than the end of three business days after the new hire’s actual start date.
Although an employer may initiate the query before a new hire’s actual start date, it may not pre-screen applicants and may not delay training or an actual start date based upon a tentative non-confirmation or a delay in the receipt of a confirmation of employment authorization. An employee should not face any adverse employment consequences based upon an employer’s use of E-Verify unless a query results in a final non-confirmation. In addition, an employer cannot use an employment authorization response to speed up an employee’s start date. This would be disparate treatment to use E-Verify results to accelerate employment for this employee compared to another who may have received a tentative non-confirmation.
Employers must verify employees in a non-discriminatory manner, and may not schedule the timing of queries based upon the new hire’s national origin, citizenship status, race, or other prohibited characteristic.
I was run through E-Verify by a previous employer. Do I need to be run through E-Verify again with Vanderbilt?
Yes. Under the rule, federal contractors are required to enter the worker’s identity and employment eligibility information into the E-Verify system following completion of the Form I-9 at the time of hire.
I was run through E-Verify by Vanderbilt and now I've changed departments or updated my I-9. Do I need to be run through E-Verify again?
No. Once an employee has been run through E-Verify they should not be re-verified through E-Verify by the same employer.
Must Vanderbilt verify all new employees? What are the exceptions to this requirement?
The rule requires Vanderbilt to use E-Verify for all new employees, regardless whether the employees are assigned to a federal contract.
I don't need an SSN for I-9 purposes. Why must I provide my SSN on the Form I-9 for E-Verify?
The employee must provide his or her SSN to an E-Verify employer if the employee has one. If the employee has applied for and is waiting to receive an SSN, the employer should make a notation on their Form I-9 and proceed with E-Verify upon receipt of the SSN.
I was told that I have a Tentative Non-Confirmation (TNC). This sounds serious, what does it mean? Must I stop working?
Once the information has been submitted, E-Verify will compare it against millions of government records. If the information entered matches, E-Verify will return an “Employment Authorized” result. This confirms you are authorized to work in the United States. Your employer then simply closes the case to complete the E-Verify process.
If there’s a mismatch, E-Verify will return a “Tentative Nonconfirmation” (TNC) result. If this happens, your employer needs to print and review a notice with you that explains the cause of the mismatch and what it means for you. The TNC can come from either the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS-TNC) or Social Security Administration (SSA-TNC).
You have the right to challenge the mismatch. If you do so, you will meet with an OIS advisor (DHS-TNC) or Business Support Services representative (SSA-TNC). All DHS-TNCs are resolved through a conference call to E-Verify with an OIS advisor and the employee in participating in the call. For SSA-TNCs you will be given a Referral Letter to present to the local SSA office. The letter contains important instructions and contact information that you will need in order to resolve the mismatch.
Regardless of whether you receive a DHS-TNC or SSA-TNC, you then have eight federal government work days from the date the case was referred in E-Verify to initiate contact with the appropriate government agency to start resolving the problem. During this time, you are allowed to continue working. Vanderbilt will not delay your training, reduce your work hours or take any other adverse actions against you.
E-Verify will provide an electronic update after you have taken steps to resolve the TNC. If you successfully resolve the mismatch, E-Verify will return a result of “Employment Authorized.” If you don’t resolve the mismatch, E-Verify will return a “Final Nonconfirmation” (FNC) result. Vanderbilt may terminate you because of E-Verify only if you receive an FNC.
In rare cases, the Department of Homeland Security or SSA might need more time to verify your employment eligibility. When this happens, E-Verify will return a “Case in Continuance” result. When your case is in continuance Vanderbilt will allow you to continue to work until E-Verify gives a final result of “Employment Authorized” or an FNC.