HR Topics

 How to Update or Reverify I-9 Forms


Jun 10, 2015
The Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) was established to prevent individuals who are not eligible to work in the United States from performing work. It requires employers to complete a Form I-9 for each employee within three days of beginning employment. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents will have permanent work authorization in the U.S.; however, a foreign worker whose work authorization is temporary must indicate the expiration date under Section 1 of the Form I-9, and employers must reverify the employee’s eligibility to work in the United States on or before that expiration date by either completing Section 3 of the I-9 or by completing a new I-9 form. If this process is not completed by the expiration date, the employee cannot continue to work and may be put on a leave of absence or terminated, per company policy.

If an employee changes his or her name in conjunction with an extended employment authorization, the name change on new work authorization documents must be recorded during the reverification process. (Federal contractors that are subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulation/FAR E-Verify clause and that choose to verify existing employees by updating existing I-9s have spe­cial rules regarding when they must complete new I-9s. Under this option, a new Form I-9 must be completed when an employee changes his or her name. For more information, see the E-Verify Supplemental Guide for Federal Contractors). If an employee changes his or her name for personal reasons, such as marriage, this change is not required to be captured by updating an I-9, although it is allowed.

Employers also have the option of using Section 3 of an original I-9 when an employee is rehired within three years of the original hire date to reverify his or her employment authorization instead of completing a new I-9. If the original Form I-9 used has since been replaced by a newer version, however, then a new I-9 must be completed.

An employer is wise to have a policy or practice in place for ensuring that all required reverifications and updates are completed on time and that personal name changes are handled consistently. Policy or practice suggestions include:

  • Creating a file or spreadsheet listing all I-9s that need to be reverified by date and reviewing it monthly.
  • Creating action dates 90 and 30 days prior to the expiration date to notify/remind the employee that a new document will need to be provided and reminding the employee which documents are acceptable. Employers may wish to include the consequences of not providing new documentation by the expiration date. As needed, organizations should notify the employee’s direct supervisor that no work can be performed after the expiration date if documentation is not provided in time.
  • Establishing a policy for whether employees who fail to reverify their authorization to work in the United States will be placed on leave of absence to await the new authorization documents or be terminated.
  • Setting company policy as to whether updating the documentation to reflect a name change for personal reasons will be required.
  • Setting company policy as to whether rehires will need to complete a new Form I-9 or if Section 3 will be used.

Step 1: Ensure Documentation Provided Is Acceptable

An employee may present any unrestricted document from either List A or List C to show continued or permanent authorization to work in the United States. The employer cannot specify which document types it will accept from an employee. The document shown for reverification purposes does not need to be the same type of document shown for initial Form I-9 purposes. If a Social Security card is provided, it must not contain any restrictions regarding employment eligibility, such as “Not Valid for Employment.” If it does, the employer may not accept it and must ask the employee to provide another document from either List A or C.

If the employee has a name change unrelated to his or her work authorization, no documentation is required to be viewed for updating purposes. Employers may ask the employee for the basis of the name change to be reasonably assured of the employee’s identity and claim to the name change; employers may also accept evidence of a name change if provided by the employee and keep it with the I-9 to document the action.

Step 2: Complete Section 3 of the Form I-9

When an employee’s employment authorization or employment authorization documentation expires, employers must reverify to ensure the employee is still authorized to work. Section 1 contains the date that employment authorization expires, and Section 2 contains the date that the employment authorization document expires.

The employment authorization expiration date provided by an employee in Section 1 may not match with the document expiration date recorded by the employer under List A or List C in Section 2. For reverification purposes, the earlier date should be used to determine when reverification is necessary.

It is advisable to inform employees, at least 90 days prior to the date reverification is required, that they will be required to present a List A or List C document (or acceptable receipt) showing continued employment authorization on the date that their employment authorization or documentation expires. If the employee has a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and the application has been pending for 75 days, the employee may call the National Customer Service Center or schedule an InfoPass appointment at a local office to request expedited processing.

Employers should not reverify:

  • U.S. citizens.
  • Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who presented a permanent resident card (Form I-551) for Section 2.
  • List B documents.

Unless reverification does not apply (as stated above), when the employee’s employment authorization or employment authorization documentation expires, the employee must present unexpired documentation from either List A or List C showing he or she is still authorized to work.

To complete Section 3, employers should:

  • Examine the documentation to determine if it appears to be genuine and relate to the employee presenting it. If the document does not reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the employee, the employee should be allowed to present other documentation from the List of Acceptable Documents.
  • Record the document title, document number and expiration date, if any.
  • Sign and date Section 3.

If Section 3 had been previously completed, or if the version of the I-9 is no longer valid, Section 3 must be completed on a new Form I-9 using the most current version and attached to the previously completed I-9.

If an employee is rehired within three years of the original hire date and is still authorized to be employed on the same basis as on the original Form I-9, employers may complete block B and the signature block.

If an employee is rehired within three years of the original hire date and his or her work authorization used previously has expired, employers should examine the new document provided and complete block B, block C, and the signature and date blocks.

If the employer keeps copies of documents provided for I-9 purposes, a copy should be attached to the Form I-9.

Step 3: Update Tracking Spreadsheet and Establish Need for Future Reverifications

If the employee has provided documentation indicating permanent authorization to work in the United States (such as a permanent resident card or an unrestricted Social Security card), then no further reverifications will be needed during this individual’s employment. Employers should update their Form I-9 reverification spreadsheet with the reverification date and status (permanent authorization) and file in their completed Form I-9 file.

If the employee has provided documentation indicating another temporary work authorization, employers should update the reverification spreadsheet with the first reverification date and the new expiration date when the employee’s work authorization will need to be reverified on the Form I-9.

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This material is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should always contact your attorney to determine if this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.


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