Ultimate Guide to Section 2 of an I-9 Form

With the Form I-9 being a mandated practice decades after the passage of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the continued intricacies of the form have U.S. employers increasingly looking for the ultimate guide to Section 2 of an I-9. While the purpose of this section of the form is primarily to ensure an individual’s identity, as well as their authorization to work in the United States, it requires close attention to detail. For this reason, it continues to be a challenge for human resources departments today.

Fortunately, employers now have access to professional grade resources such as I-9 intelligence software to help those in charge of hiring meet the form’s strict guidelines and deadlines to stay compliant with the federal government.

Ultimate Guide to Section 2 of an I-9

One of the main reasons human resource offices appreciate an ultimate guide to Section 2 of an I-9 is that this part of the form requires participation from both the employee and employer that can include presentation and verification of documentation within a specific deadline.

It is critical for employers to note that they must both complete and sign Section 2 of an I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of paid work. Should the job in question last less than three days, Section 2 must still be completed and be done so by the employee’s first day of paid work.

An employee’s role is generally limited to presenting current and unexpired original documentation to an employer for the purpose of identity verification and work authorization. Although the employee is allowed to choose which form of documentation to present, it must be from the approved list for the Form I-9:

  • List A documents usually confirm both identity and employment authorization. Some of the approved documents for this list may be a U.S. passport or passport card, a permanent resident card (also known as a green card), and employment authorization document card. An employee who presents a valid document from List A is not asked to present additional documentation.
  • List B documents tend to be for identity purposes only. Examples of documents from this list may include a U.S. driver’s license, voter registration card, ID card issued by a federal state or local government entity, U.S. military card or draft record, among others. An employee who presents an employer with a List B document must also present an approved document from List C for this section of the Form I-9.
  • List C documents are typically for authorization purposes. Unexpired documents from List C can include a U.S. social security card, consular report of birth abroad, certification of report of birth, employment authorization document from the Department of Homeland Security, and others.

Once an employee has submitted valid documentation, it becomes the employer’s responsibility to examine each document in good faith for authenticity. In terms of the Form I-9, an employer must document:

  • pertinent information such as the employee’s full name
  • the title of the documents presented along with their issuing authority and expiration date
  • the date an employee begins work
  • the name of the person completing the information for Section 2 and the date it was completed
  • contact information for the employer

Handling Section 2 of an I-9 If Hiring Remotely

Part of what makes an ultimate guide to Section 2 of an I-9 a necessity today is the challenge of remote workers.

When employees work inside the office itself, documentation for the Form I-9 is handled in person as required by law. However, with more employees than ever being hired remotely, this creates a problem as when an employee is being hired remotely it does not excuse them from presenting proper identification as required by federal law.

To help employers navigate remote hires, the federal government is allowing employers to designate an authorized representative to fill out a Form I-9 on their behalf. These entities are tasked with inspecting the validity and authenticity of documents presented by an employee to the employer. Acceptable parties for assisting with this task are:

  • Company designated individual
  • Notary Public
  • Agent
  • Foreman

Employers should be aware that even if one of the above parties completes a Form I-9 on behalf of an employer, the employer can still be held liable for pertinent violations. It is highly recommended to choose a trustworthy party to perform this task.

Should a workplace eliminate working remote and require employees to work in person again, those remote employees who had their Section 2 Form I-9 documentation done remotely must then within three days present that documentation to the employer in person. The employer must then document the completion date of this action on the Form I-9. This is required for the employer to remain compliant with federal law.

How a Professional I-9 Intelligence Company Can Help

With changes such as remote working brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, many employers are more uncertain than ever that they are indeed following proper compliance guidelines for the Form I-9, particularly in Section 2.

An integral part of an employer’s ultimate guide to Section 2 of an I-9 should be enlisting the help of a professional I-9 intelligence company that offers a digital I-9 software program. These programs are specifically designed to streamline the hiring process for human resource offices while also reducing the incidence of common human errors and keeping employers current on the most up to date hiring policies from the federal government.

Some of the features of digital I-9 software most valued by employers can be the alerts regarding:

  • Incomplete fields
  • Blank fields
  • Missing signatures
  • Reminders about upcoming compliance deadlines
  • Warnings about soon to expire documentation

As an added bonus, for those employers who must complete a Form I-9 and open a case in E-Verify for each hire, digital I-9 software that is integrated with the Government’s E-Verify platform will auto populate E-Verify with the information the employee entered for the I-9. Additionally, electronic I-9 tools that are integrated with E-Verify place all required actions in one tool. No need to toggle between two systems to fulfill all required compliance actions (e.g., Tentative Non-Confirmation notices to your employees). While this is a welcome convenience, it is also another tool in helping to reduce the incidence of human error and delays which can potentially result in fees and penalties if audited.

The ultimate guide to Section 2 of an I-9 form is something today’s employers cannot afford to go without. Know what information is needed for its completion, how to handle authentication, and then achieve additional peace of mind with the guidance of digital I-9 software.

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