A Brief Guide to I-9 Deadlines

As an employer, hopefully you are quite familiar with Form I-9. This is the Employment Eligibility Verification form that must be filled out for any and all employees you hire at your company. Both you, as the employer, and your new hire are required to fill out specific sections on the I-9. According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the purpose of the I-9 is to “[verify] the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States.”

Proper I-9 compliance may seem like a simple process, but it can actually be full of potential pitfalls that could cause serious issues for your company—just take a look at our previous blog on common I-9 mistakes.

Issues with I-9 compliance can lead to debarment from government contracts, severe civil fines, and even criminal penalties if you are found to be willfully and repeatedly at fault for hiring employees who are not authorized to work in the US.

One of the most common issues businesses have with I-9 compliance is simply meeting the proper deadlines. There are many misconceptions about employer and employee obligations when it comes to filling out and filing the form, so in this blog we have outlined some of the important dates and deadlines every employer should know to help ensure they fulfill all of their obligations within the time allotted by the government.

Section 1

Section 1 of the I-9 form must be filled out by the new employee and includes vital information about that employee like address, birthdate, and their immigration or citizenship status. This section serves as the employee’s attestation that they are indeed eligible to work in the US. It must be completed no later than the new hire’s first day of work. It can be completed before the employee begins work if the job has been offered and accepted.

Acceptable Documentation

New hires filling out the I-9 are required to provide documentation to prove their identity and work eligibility. USCIS provides for a broad array of potential documents that can be used, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and much more. Acceptable, unexpired, original documents must be provided to the employer by the new hire within three days of their first day of work.

Section 2

Section 2 of the I-9 must be filled out by the employer and includes a wide variety of information like the employee’s first day of work, as well as the employer’s attestation that they have viewed in person the acceptable documentation mentioned above. Section 2 of the I-9 must be completed by the employer within three days of the new hire’s first day of paid work.

Less Than 3 Days of Work

If a new employee is being hired only for less than three days of work, all three aspects of the I-9 mentioned above (Section 1, Section 2, and acceptable documentation), must be completed no later than the employee’s first day of work.

Tentative Non Confirmation

Also known as a TNC, a Tentative Non Confirmation is a response an employer could receive from the online E-Verify system used to verify I-9 information and ensure the new hire is indeed eligible to work. There are a number of reasons a new hire could receive a TNC from the E-Verify system, such as when the information provided on the I-9 does not match certain government records. The E-Verify system will usually provide some sort of action that must be taken to correct the TNC, and the employee must take said action within eight federal government workdays.


As an employer, you are required to maintain records of all your employees’ I-9 forms, even after the employee leaves your company. The deadline for retention of I-9 forms is at least three years after the initial hiring of the employee, or one year after the employee leaves your company.

FordMurray Law can help give you peace of mind and ensure that your company is always compliant with its I-9 obligations and deadlines. Give us a call to learn how we can help.