How to complete an I-9
Okay, guys, I get it. Filling out an I-9 can be somewhat of a nightmare if you don't have some guidance. To complicate things even more, you're working remotely and your employer isn't nearby. That's where I come in. I'm going to take you through the I-9 Form step-by-step, and provide some helpful tips along the way to help you totally dominate it!
Background Info/Important Info
First things first- here's a little background info on this government doc.
- Since 1986, every person who gets hired anywhere in the US, whether a citizen or not, must complete an I-9 Form to prove they are authorized to work.
Employees must provide acceptable documents to verify their identity and employment authorization.
Your I-9 Form has to be submitted to your Staffing Coordinator on or before your first day of work in order to start your assignment without a hitch.
Finally, let's get one thing straight before we go any further- you can't get paid until your I-9 is complete and turned in. I know. Believe me, I don't like it either, but that's why it's super important that you watch this video closely and fill out the form accurately and timely.
Okay, let's take a look at an actual I-9 Form. Feel free to follow along with me while you're filling yours out and pause this video as needed.
Page 1 shows Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation. Attestation is just a fancy way to say, "This is true."
Simply insert your last and first name and middle initial. Simple enough, yes, but keep this in mind: The name you put on your I-9 has to match what's on your social security card. If you go by Chris Jones, but your birth name is Christopherson Jones, that's what you'll put on your I-9. In the "Other Names Used" box, include your maiden name or any other legal name you've used, if applicable.
Warning! If any of the fields on the I-9 don't apply to you, be sure to put an N/A for Not Applicable in the box. Don't leave any text boxes blank. Woah, woah, woah there Christopherson! You can't use a PO Box on your I-9. It's simply not a valid address. If you're on a travel assignment, you can't use your temporary lodging address either.
Male voice: " But I don't have a permanent address; I'm always traveling!"
Hmm...that is a pickle! Do your parents have a permanent address you can put down? Your sister or grandma? Your employer needs a true street address in which they can reach you.
Citizenship I think you can handle the rest of that biographical info. I'm going to skip down to the citizenship stuff. Check the box of the option that accurately represents you.
Here's a quick note for any lawful permanent residents out there. You'll need to input your alien registration number, with the letter "A" preceding it. You'll do this for box 3 and box 4-1.
"Do you attest that all of the information you provided on this document is true and accurate?"
Male voice says, "Yes, ma'am, I do!"
Okay then, sign your name here and date it! This form cannot be digitally signed, so please sign your beautiful signature by hand. Next, let's move down to the preparer and/or translator certification box.
Preparer or Translator
A preparer or translator may be used to help employees read or complete this form. If you have received assistance, then check the second box, and have the person who helped you sign, date, and fill in their personal information. On the other hand, if you have not used the services of a preparer or translator, then select the first checkbox and leave the remainder of the certification box blank.
Here's where things get a little topsy-turvy. You're at the bottom of Section 1, Page 1 and the form says to "Stop" because your employer is to complete the next page. Well, actually, you'll need an authorized representative to complete Section 2 because, as a traveling employee, you are at a remote location and can't simply walk in and present your IDs to us. Thus, we need you to take it to someone who can verify that you are who you say you are. I'll get into the specifics of that in just a minute.
Section 2 is where you provide information about your legal proofs of identity. Everyone has to provide something that establishes their identity and their employment authorization. In that big stack of papers you received with your I-9 form, there's a list of acceptable documents that look like this. Some documents prove both of these are found under list A. Some only prove one or the other, and these are found in Lists B and C. If you have a document in List A, that's all you need. If you don't have a List A ID, you'll have to provide a form of ID from Lists B and C. You should know that since we are an E-Verify employer, all of the documents presented from List B must contain a photo ID.
Phew! That was a lot to take in. Let's walk through this again. Let's say Christopherson has a Permanent Resident Card, a Driver's License, and his birth certificate. Does he need to provide all of these IDs?
Correct! A Permanent Resident Card establishes both identity and employment authorization. Simply record the document title, the issuing authority, the document number, and its expiration date, if applicable.
The government recognizes that some people aren't physically close enough to their new employer to turn in their IDs directly to them. Thus, they've designated that certain people are legally allowed to examine your IDs and sign your I-9 on your employer's behalf. The list of Authorized Representatives includes: a notary, a police officer, a bank teller, a cashier, a post office clerk, a foreman, and an agent.
Male voice says, "So you're telling me, I should ask my bank teller to examine my IDs and sign here to verify that they're authentic?"
Male voice says, "But what if the representative feels uncomfortable signing my I-9?"
That's a reasonable concern. Be sure to let the individual know that they are not legally bound in any way by signing the document. They cannot and will not be held responsible for anything by acting as the Authorized Representative. They're simply confirming that they took a look at your identification and you appeared to be a real person.
Male voice says, "Okay, cool! Is there anything else I need to know?"
Yes, in fact, there is! Your Authorized Representative cannot be a family member or friend. This individual must have a valid job title that they can provide on the form. That means "sister," "neighbor," "friend," and "retired," etc. are not acceptable titles for your authorized representative.
The final step of this process is to email or fax the completed I-9 and your IDs, as per the instructions of your account manager. If you have any questions, you can always give them a call. You've just completed your I-9 Form! Congratulations!