How to Correct Form I-9 & Other I-9 FAQs
July 6 2021
Form I-9, the method of employment eligibility verification required of employers in the United States, is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) document that must be completed for all employees within your organization. I-9s are used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired in the United States.
Upon first glance, completing an I-9 appears straightforward and simple; in reality, there are an abundance of potential mistakes to be made, and they could end up costing your company thousands. In an effort to prevent such mistakes, the USCIS developed a handbook, the M-247, which can also be used as a guide for correcting old I-9s. In addition to the USCIS, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) play significant roles in the rules and maintenance of Form I-9s.
Whether you choose to correct old I-9s yourself or use a third-party vendor, it is important to adhere to ICE’s correction guidelines. With this in mind, InfoMart has partnered with HIREtech to provide you with a simple solution.
Most often, employers struggle to know how to correct I-9s without incurring additional fines. We’ve also compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding I-9 correction that may help.
How much does a single mistake cost in fines, on average?
What’s the best way to correct past I-9s that include errors?
If you plan to correct your past I-9s on your own, you must follow the rules set forth in the M-274, such as:
- You may only use blue or black ink.
- You may not use white-out.
- If there is an error in Section 1 (filled out by the employee), you may indicate these errors with an attached note so that the employee may correct them. Do not write directly on the document in this instance.
- You may use an attached note to detail why you’re having the employee make corrections so that an ICE agent understands the scope of the correction.
- Errors in Section 2 should be corrected by the employer directly on the document.
- All error corrections for all I-9s should be catalogued in a self-audit to be provided to the appointed ICE agent.
If you choose to do this process through InfoMart, we will find any errors and present them to you so that you know exactly what needs to be corrected and who needs to correct it.
In the case of errors on old I-9s for current employees, should they fill out a new form?
Whether or not an entirely new form is completed depends on how many errors there are. If there are an abundance of errors, you may be better off filling out a new one. If there are only a few errors, it is better to make corrections to the existing document.
Completing a new I-9 for each and every one that has errors is a form of document abuse and is against the rules laid out in the M-274.
What should I do if there are errors on a former employee’s I-9?
What is the specific requirement for being known as a 100% remote employer, per DHS flexibility during COVID-19?
Post COVID-19, how can a company indicate that they were a 100% remote employer during the pandemic on an I-9 for a terminated employee, since a secondary inspection can no longer occur?
Can a remote employee use a notary as their authorized representative to complete Section 2?
Is it true that you still need to have a wet ink I-9 on file for your employee?
Where can an employer can get the M-274?
Are there any alternate processes for staffing agencies?
Regarding a company with multiple locations, should a new hire’s manager review Section 2 of their I-9 or should HR at the corporate office complete the review?
How far back does an I-9 audit go for former employees?
Audits go back a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years, at the discretion of your auditor.
Are there penalties for verifying Section 2 electronically?
If your business qualifies as 100% remote based on the DHS requirements, no. You are allowed to verify Section 2 electronically; just make sure your platform is M-274 compliant.
Although USCIS allows virtual viewing of remote employee documents due to DHS flexibility, you must physically inspect the documents within three days of returning to the office. Failing to do so would mean noncompliance. Once you complete the physical inspection, make sure to write “physically examined docs” in the additional information box. (InfoMart’s Name Your Own Completer process simplifies this, allowing employers to skip this requirement.)
How do you properly physically verify documents for new remote workers if you’re not a 100% remote company?
If you are verifying the documents yourself, it will be your responsibility (as the employer) to find a way to meet with the new hire so that you can physically verify the I-9.
If you are using InfoMart and HIREtech’s solution, you can do this with the Name Your Own Completer functionality: the new hire can name anyone they know (who can be in the same room as them) to serve as their authorized representative.
Should employers still self-audit their I-9s even though E-Verify has built-in compliance measures?
How can I-9 remediation be simpler?
Completing and correcting I-9s may seem confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. InfoMart is equipped to guide you through I-9 remediation and save you hundreds (or thousands) in simple, costly mistakes.
For more information on Form I-9 completion, check out our webinar, How to Avoid Costly I-9 Mistakes. Ready to get started? Learn more about our solution or talk to an expert.
About Tammy Cohen
Tammy Cohen, an industry pioneer and expert in identity and employment screening, founded InfoMart 30 years ago. Deemed the “Queen of Screen,” she’s been a force behind industry-leading innovations. She was most recently the first-to-market with a fully compliant sanctions search, as well as a suite of identity services that modernizes talent onboarding. Tammy revolutionized the screening industry when she stepped into the field, developing the first client-facing application and a due diligence criminal search that has since become standard for all background screening companies. Cohen has received national awards and honors for her business and civic involvement, including Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Top 25 Women-Owned Firms in Atlanta, Enterprising Women Magazine’s Enterprising Women of the Year award, the YWCA of Northwest Georgia’s Kathryn Woods Racial Justice Award, and a commendation in the 152nd Congressional Record. To learn more about Tammy, visit www.tammycohen.com.
InfoMart has been revolutionizing the global background and identity screening industry for 30 years, providing businesses the information they need to make informed hiring decisions. They develop innovative technology that modernizes talent onboarding, including a first-to-market biometric identity authentication application and a verified sanctions search. The WBENC-certified company is a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, and they have achieved PBSA accreditation in recognition of their consistent business practices and commitment to compliance with the FCRA. The company is dedicated to customer service, speed, and accuracy, and it has been recognized for its success, workplace culture, and corporate citizenship with over 45 industry awards. To Get the Whole Story on InfoMart, please visit www.InfoMart-USA.com, follow @InfoMartUSA, or call (770) 984-2727.