Basic I-9 Instructions

Download an I-9 form

General Information

  • The 1-9 form may be photocopied as long as both sides are copied.
  • The set of instructions (may be obtained from HRS) must be "available" during completion of the form.
  • Section 1 of the 1-9 must be completed either before or on the day the employee begins work. Section 2 of the 1-9 must be completed within 3 days of employment or within 1 day if only working 1 day.
  • Departments complete the 1-9 for student, GTA, hourly, and adjunct employees and forward it to HRS along with the W-4 and/or the PAF, PEF, MAF (after appropriate signatures are obtained).
  • HRS completes the form for classified, faculty, and administrative employees during the sign-up process.

Section 1: Employee Information and Verification

  • Must be completed by the employee, however, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure Section 1 is complete.
  • The employer is not permitted to require employees to produce documents that verify Section 1 information. If an employee cannot or will not provide Section 1 information, the employee should be considered ineligible to work.

    NOTE: Sometimes, an employee may not understand which documents they need to complete Section 1 information if they checked Lawful Permanent Resident (Box 2) or if they checked an alien authorized to work until (Box 3). The following is meant to serve as a general guideline. Always call the HRS Office with any questions you may have.

    All Permanent Residents will have an "A" number and the employer should make certain that the number is given if the employee checks Box 2. This number appears on Form 1-551. This form is known as a PERMANENT RESIDENTCARD ("Green Card") or the older version of the card known as an ALIEN REGISTRATION RECEIPT CARD.

    Work authorized aliens (Box 3) may not always have an "A" number or an admission number. If this number is not provided by the employee, the employer should inquire whether the employee has such a number; if the employee does not have such a number, he or she should be instructed to enter "none" on the appropriate line. An employee who checks Box 3 must state the expiration date of his or her employment authorization. Work authorized aliens should have employment authorization cards (form 1-688 A or B) or official notation stamps in their passports or on their 1-94 forms. Students who check Box 3 may obtain their Admission Number from their 1-20 and their authorized to work date from their 1-94 which usually will be marked DIS for Duration of Study.

Section 2: Employer Review and Verification

  • Must be completed by the employer, however, it is the employee's choice of which documents to present.
  • The employer must personally review original documents. All identifying information, including the document title, the issuing authority, the document number, and/or the expiration date (if applicable) must be provided in full.
  • Receipt showing application for document may be accepted, but the original document must be presented within ninety days.
  • A social security card marked "Valid for employment only when accompanied by INS authorization" must be accompanied by a current INS document to be acceptable. In the case of student workers, the employment authorization letter from the International Office is considered a current INS document. Therefore, if a student presents a social security card as described above, along with the letter from the International Office, that student is eligible to work.
  • A social security card marked "Not valid for employment purposes" may not be used as a List C document at all.
  • If an employee uses List A and presents an unexpired passport with an unexpired 1-94, both document numbers and expiration dates must be recorded.

Section 3: Updating and Reverification

  • When an 1-9 expires, MTSU has adopted the practice of completing a new 1-9 rather than reverifying in Section 3. HRS screen 17 should have the 1-9 expiration date of all full time employees who had either a Section 1 or a Section 2 document with an expiration date. Also, adjunct, hourly, GTA and student employees who must complete an 1-9 every three years will have an expiration date reflected on screen 17. The HRS office will make the department aware of this date approximately 90 days before it expires so the employee has time to obtain new documentation.

It is important that the 1-9 form be properly completed. Please call the HRS Office anytime you have a question!

General checklist

The following is a checklist of particular problems that often arise with regard to proper 1-9 completion:

Section 1. Employee Information and Verification

  • Employee Information
  • Employee name stated incorrectly
  • Date of birth missing or incorrectly stated
  • Social Security number missing, incorrectly stated or impossible to read
  • Address missing or incorrectly stated

Citizenship / Immigration

  • Status Status is not indicated
  • If employee is a permanent resident, the alien registration number is missing
  • If employee is not a permanent resident but has authorization to work in the United States, the alien number or admission number is missing
  • Expiration date of employment authorization is missing or incorrectly stated

Employee's Attestation

  • Employee's signature missing or employee has signed in the Preparer/Translator box
  • Date of employee's execution of form missing or incorrectly stated
  • I-9 not signed on or before date of hire (first day of employment)

Section 2. Employer Review and Verification
List A, B, and C documents

  • Inappropriate document listed
  • Wrong grouping of documents used, for example two List A documents or two List B documents - remember, one document from List A or one document from List B and one document from List C is the only correct use of documents
  • Document identification missing or incorrectly stated
  • Document issuing authority missing or incorrectly stated
  • Expiration date, if applicable, missing, or incorrectly stated (List B documents may be expired).
  • Receipt showing application for document accepted, but original document not presented within ninety days

Employer's Certification

  • Date of hire missing or incorrectly stated
  • Signature of company representative missing or located in the wrong place
  • Title of company representative missing or located in the wrong place
  • Name of the company missing or incorrectly stated Address of the company missing or incorrectly stated
  • Date of company certification missing or incorrectly stated
  • Company certification not signed within three days of hire

Note: No white-out or eraser marks should appear on the 1-9.