I-9 Fact Sheet

A. What Is The I-9 And Why Does It Need To Be Done?

The I-9 form is a document that establishes identity and eligibility to work. Federal law requires this document of all new employees.

B. Where Can I Find Blank Forms?

The form and instructions are in a fillable PDF format; please be sure to use the current version.

C. When Does The I-9 Need To Be Completed?

Section 1 needs to be completed by the employee on or before the first day of employment.

NOTE: The "start date" is the first day a person actually starts working on the job.

In the case where someone actually starts working sometime after the contract start date, enter the actual date that work begins in Section 2. If there is a different contract start date, indicate that also in the margin or in a space near the start date entry area.

Section 2 needs to be completed by the employer within the first three (business) days of employment.

D. Who Needs To Complete The I-9?

As previously mentioned, all new employees. This includes faculty, staff, ad hoc employees such as lecturers and visiting faculty, student hourly employees, graduate teaching and program/ project assistants, and post-docs (research associates). "New" includes all employees who are being payrolled by your unit for the first time.

Continuing and rehired employees may also need to update/re-verify their I-9's for employment eligibility (see Section E).

I-9 required employment categories, pdf (12 kb)

E. What Parts Do I Complete?

Section 1 is completed by the employee. Section 2 is completed and signed by the department representative, often the department's ADA or USA. The department representative must view the original documents provided by the employee for identity and eligibility. Please attach copies of the original documents from List A or from List B and List C to the I-9. Section 3 can be used to "update" the form when there has been a break in service or to "re-verify" if previous work authorization documents have expired.

NOTE: For employees on a fixed-term contract whenever there has been a "break in service," please update the I-9 for "rehired employees" by completing Section 3*. Depending on where the original I-9 is located, the College office or the department representative will update the I-9.

A "break in service" occurs when an employee's current contract ends before s/he receives the next contract and there was a break between employment periods (e.g., no employment for one semester or in the summer). For example, if the employee's Spring 2009 lecturer appointment ended on May 24, 2009, the employee did not teach for 12 weeks in the summer, and s/he did not receive his/her Fall 2009 appointment letter until August 15, 2009, then there has been a "break in service," and the I-9 should be updated.

NOTE: The definition of summer as a break in service is new.

For employees whose work authorization documents have expired, please re-verify the I-9 for "current" or "rehired employees" by completing Section 3* and recording the information from the new document(s) the employee presents. Typically, re-verification will be done by the department representative since the employee needs to present one or new documents.

*To update or re-verify - If the version of the form you used for the previous verification has since been replaced by a newer version, please complete section 3 of using the newest I-9 version and attach it to the employee’s original Form I-9.

F. Where Is The Form Filed?

The I-9 form should be kept in files separate from personnel files.

The originals of I-9's for faculty and staff should be sent to the College of Letters and Science Dean's Office, attention: Anne Preuss. This includes I-9's for new employees as well as the updated or re-verified I-9's for continuing and rehired employees.

The I-9 forms for permanent classified employees are sent to Human Resources.

The I-9 form for all other categories of employees should be kept on file in the department/unit office:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Project Program Assistants
  • Student Hourly Employees
  • Limited Term Employees
  • Research Associates and Research Interns

G. How Long Do I Keep The I-9?

For 3 years or 1 year after termination, whichever is longer.

H. How Do I Mark The Personnel Action Form?

If the I-9 has been completed and the work authorization forms are still current (e.g., I-20 for F-1, DS-2019 for J-1, I-797 for H1, or EAD card), then you can either:

check "yes" to Box 12 on the PA form and place your initials next to the box
type in the expiration dates of the work authorization forms onto the PA forms.

I. What If I Want More Information about the I-9?

Please see the U.S. Department of Homeland Security web page.

J. Who Do I Contact If I Have More Specific Questions?

Linda Daley in the Dean's Office in the College of Letters and Science at x6316; lindaley@uwm.edu, or contact the Center for International Education at x4846.