Every employer in the United States is required to complete an I-9 compliance form for every employee that is hired. These forms are normally handled by the human resource department of the company you will be working for. The purpose of the I-9 compliance form is to make sure the employee has the legal right to work in the United States. The form must be completed for both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens.
Responsibilities and Requirements of the Employee
Once you are hired to work for a U.S. company, you must cooperate with the employer by providing the information requested on the I-9. Failure to provide the information is enough to justify your termination before you even start working. You are required to sign the I-9 compliance form on or before your first day of work, and you will need to provide the following information:
- Legal family name (or names, if you have two last names or a hyphenated name)
- Any other name you have used in the past (for example, your maiden name if you are married)
- Your place of residence
- Your date of birth
- Your United States social security number, if you have one (note that this is only mandatory if your employer uses an electronic method to verify citizenship status)
You will also need to declare your citizenship status under penalty of perjury. This means if you do not tell the truth regarding your citizenship, you can be prosecuted in court, and you face the almost definite risk of deportation. You must state whether you are a United States citizen, a non-citizen national of the United States, a lawful resident, or an alien that is authorized to be employed in the United States.
Responsibilities of the Employer
It is against the law in the United States for an employer to discriminate against you based on your citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin. An employer can not refuse to give you a job based on the fact that the paperwork or documents you provide for the purpose of the I-9 compliance form has expiration dates. This type of treatment and behavior by an employer is illegal and is considered unlawful discrimination.
Your employer does not have to send the I-9 compliance form to any government agency, however, the law requires that the employer keep the form on file for review at the request of immigration officials. Your employer must also accept any document you provide for the I-9 compliance form so long as it is on the list of acceptable documents. Passports, drivers licenses, birth certificates, and social security cards are a few examples of documents that are acceptable.
Seeking Help from an Attorney
Coming to a new country can be very exciting, but it can also be very confusing. For more information on how or why employers use the information contained on the I-9 form that you will fill out, contact an experienced immigration attorney. Immigration attorneys are well versed in immigration law and on I-9 processes and procedures.