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DHS Clarifies I-9 Completion Issues

The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) recently issued a clarification of the rules on when the Form I-9 can be completed, and on the electronic storage of those forms.

The DHS noted that the earliest the Form I-9 can be completed is when the employee has accepted an offer of employment. The latest the form may be completed is the third business day after the day the employee started work with pay. The DHS has long noted that employees should be treated uniformly with respect to the time of completion of Form I-9 but has not issued definitive advice with respect to the earliest date the form can be completed.  Accordingly, employers are encouraged to establish uniform procedures for the time at which the Form I-9 should be completed.

The DHS noted that it should be completed, at the latest, within three business, not calendar, days after the appropriate date, as defined above. It also noted that employers may use a combination of paper and electronic systems to store their I-9 forms, but they are not required to retain audit trails of each time a Form I-9 is electronically viewed, but only when it is created, updated, modified, altered or corrected.