HR in Iraq: Does Form I-9 Extend to Expats Working for U.S.-Based Firms?

Puzzled by global HR? Ask an Expert is an occasional series in which SHRM members can pose direct questions to experts in the field of global HR. To pose your question, contact SHRM's Global HR Discipline Editor Aliah D. Wright at

By Aliah D. Wright Sep 1, 2009

Tom Reilly, the human resources director for Michael Baker Engineering Corp. in Moon Township, Pa., asks:

Does the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, extend to employees of U.S.-based companies who are physically working in foreign countries?This has to do with employees we hire and assign to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reilly wanted to know, specifically, if the law applies only to people who are working in the U.S. and its territories.

We turned to SHRM’s HR Knowledge Center for a quick response. The answer:

Based on information below from the USCIS Employer Handbook, the I-9 does not extend to persons “not physically working on U.S. soil.” Therefore, unless the employee is working in the United States, there is no need to complete an I-9.

This from the handbook:

You must complete Form I-9 each time you hire any person to perform labor or services in the United States in return for wages or other remuneration. This requirement applies to everyone hired after Nov. 6, 1986.

You DO NOT need to complete a Form I-9 for persons who are:

  1. Hired before Nov. 7, 1986, who are continuing in their employment and have a reasonable expectation of employment at all times;
  2. Employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular or intermittent basis;
  3. Independent contractors;
  4. Providing labor to you who are employed by a contractor providing contract services (example: employee leasing or temporary agencies);
  5. Not physically working on U.S. soil.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Related Link:

USCIS Handbook for Employers—Instructions for completing the I-9 (see page 5)

Related Articles:

Employers Must Use Revised I-9 Form Effective April 3, HR News, March 30, 2009

HR in Ghana: Director Asks, How Should I Proceed?, SHRM Online Global HR Discipline, June 2009

Quick Links:

EXPRESS REQUEST: SHRM members can receive additional resources on this topic. Visit SHRM’s Express Request Service and select key term REVISED FORM I-9.


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