As a small business owner, some of your tasks are both exciting and important (think meeting a new client). Others, however, are important but not exciting, like picking up your mail. The task we’re going to talk about today is certainly in the later category – ensuring that the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form is correctly filled out for every one of your employees.
This form is regulated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its purpose is to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. There are 2 parts to the form that must be completed. Section 1 is done by the employee. Section 2 is done by the employer or an authorized representative and requires verification of the employee’s physical identification (such as a passport, birth certificate, drivers license, etc).
Something that many employers may not know is that the employee’s identification must be verified in person. This means that your employee cannot bring copies of their identification for review. It also means that if you have remote employees (a situation where verifying their identification in person is not possible) you must have your employee take their identification to an authorized agent for review and completion of section 2 of the I-9 form.
According to the USCIS, a notary public can be used as an authorized agent to verify identification in person and completed section 2. You can find more information here on remote employees I9 forms. We encourage our clients, or anybody needing advice on new hire procedures, to consult with an HR professional who is familiar with the requirements in your state.
One of the most difficult things about being a small business owner is keeping up on all of these small but critical tasks. Use this opportunity to ensure that you process is correct and also to look back at paperwork for existing employees!