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Electronically Complete and Store Forms I-9

By Catherine Gordon, JD | June 29, 2012

When adding a new employee, many tasks must be completed to make the hiring official. Among them, you must verify the employee's eligibility to work and document it for the federal government. Thanks to new rule changes by the feds, this task now may be getting a little easier.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has officially eased a recordkeeping burden for employers who are required to complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Beginning August 23, 2010, employers and employees may sign the forms electronically and retain them in an electronic format. This rule includes the retention of existing Form I-9s. The final regulations also make minor changes to the rules regarding the completion and retention of Form I-9.

All employers are required to verify the identity and the eligibility to work in the United States of all employees hired after November 6, 1986, by using Form I-9. The completed form is not sent to the government, but employers must retain the form and have it available for inspection by the proper authorities.

The changes made by the DHS final rules clarify that employers:

  • must complete a Form I-9 within three business (not calendar) days of hiring a new employee;
  • may use paper, electronic systems, or a combination of paper and electronic systems to retain the forms;
  • may change electronic storage systems, as long as the systems meet the performance requirements of the regulations;
  • need not retain audit trails of each time a Form I-9 is electronically viewed, but only when the Form I-9 is created, completed, updated, modified, altered, or corrected; and
  • may provide or transmit a confirmation of a Form I-9 transaction, but are not required to do so unless the employee requests a copy.

Office & HR

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