Ultimate Guide to Navigating Internal Audits for Form I-9: Your FAQs Answered


Learn everything you need to know about internal audits for Form I-9. From what to do if you’ve used the wrong form, to dealing with E-Verify, this ultimate guide answers all your questions.

What to Do if the Wrong Version of Form I-9 is Completed

If you realize that an outdated form was used, don’t fret. Staple the old form to a blank new one and explain the reason. The key is good faith and timely correction.

How to Audit Section 2 of Form I-9

Verify the documents presented under the rules effective at the time of hire. An old but once valid document can still meet compliance standards.

Handling Incomplete or Missing Forms

Don’t backdate; instead, fill out the current form and append it with a dated explanation.

Revising Inadequate Forms for Current Employees

Yes, you can update them. Just staple the updated form to the original, with an explanation.

What if Form I-9 Documents Look Suspicious?

Handle this delicately. The employee should have the opportunity to present alternative documentation. Discrimination or retaliation is not an option.

Can Employers Ask for Specific Documents in an Audit?

No, let the employee choose from the list of acceptable documents for the I-9.

Managing E-Verify Non-Compliance

Failure to use E-Verify when required demands immediate action. Consult the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for advice.

Mistaken Employee Termination Due to Tentative Nonconfirmation in E-Verify

You should consider corrective actions like offering re-employment. Failure to do so may violate the INA.

Should You Replace All Existing Employees’ Forms I-9?

Be cautious, as this could raise discrimination concerns. If you must, don’t backdate the new forms.

Employee Admits Being Previously Unauthorized

The law does not require termination if the employee is now authorized.

Timeframe for Employees to Present Alternative Documents

There’s no hard and fast rule. However, reasonable time should be allowed based on various factors.

What if an Employee Fails to Present Documents in Time?

Examine the reason and document your decision. Discrimination is not allowed.

Is a Third-Party Auditor a Good Idea?

Yes, but remember, you’re still liable for their actions.

Should You Trust Tips About an Employee’s Work Authorization?

Be cautious and do not act solely based on anonymous or unreliable tips.

Can You Use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) During an Internal Audit?

No, it’s not intended for this purpose.


Conducting an internal audit of Form I-9s can be a complex process but knowing how to navigate it can save you from legal trouble. Keep this guide handy as you work through your internal audit.

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