Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the U.S. All U.S. employers are required to complete I-9 forms for every employee they hire.  

Along with Form I-9, employees must present their employer with documents that provide evidence of identity and employment authorization. The information on Form I-9 is crucial and can result in fines and penalties if errors are made. Here are some common Form I-9 mistakes to avoid. 

Improperly making corrections 

Sometimes completed Form I-9s contain missing information or errors. When employers discover these mistakes, they need to document their actions when making corrections. Employers must not conceal any of the changes they make to an employee’s Form I-9. The USCIS guidelines instructs employers to draw a line through the incorrect information and initial and date the correction with the current date. Employers must then attach a memorandum that states why corrections were made. 

If employers need to correct major errors, they are able to redo the entire section on a new Form 1-9 and then attach it to the original completed form.  

Failing to reverify employment authorization  

If a document has an expiration date, employers must reverify an employee’s employment authorization. Employers can do this by looking at the employee’s new work authorization document and completing section 3 of the form. If employees do not reverify an employee’s authorization document, they may receive fines and penalties.  

An expiration date is provided in Section 1 of Form I-9, and employers must reverify the employee’s work authorization document before the expiration date. Many employers do not track the expiration dates of their employee’s employment authorization which is why many employers forget to reverify their employee’s work authorization.  

In order to help avoid failing to reverify employment authorization, employers can train staff and establish procedures so that they do not miss any Form I-9 reverification requirements.  

Inexperienced employees   

Employers need to prioritize ensuring that every Form I-9 is completed correctly. It is very common for employers to assume the employees in charge of completing employee onboarding are trained to properly address any issues that may occur when carrying out Form I-9 operations; however, Form I-9 is complicated and confusing for atypical employment situations. Here are some common Form I-9 errors made by untrained staff:  

  • Recording incorrect information on the form 
  • Accepting improper employee identification  
  • Failing to reverify employment authorization  

It is important for employers to properly train employees who are responsible for the Form I-9 process. Having a well-trained staff will reduce risks of fines, audits, and penalties.  

Not supervising employees when completing section 1  

Many new hires are not familiar with Form I-9 and may encounter difficulties. It is beneficial to have HR professionals supervise new hires as they complete section 1 of the form. This allows new hires to ask questions, record information properly, and reduces errors. 

If the new hire happens to complete Section 1 before their first day of work, an employer or HR professional can review the completed form and make sure it is completed correctly.  

Form I-9 is a place where many employers unknowingly fall out of compliance. These are just a few of the most common I-9 form mistakes to avoid. If you have questions about Form I-9, reach out to our HR experts at