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Should employers keep copies of the documents employees provide for Form I-9 purposes?

If an employer does not participate in E-Verify, there is no requirement to make copies of documents. Some employers retain copies of documents for legal defense purposes. In the event that the documents prove to be fraudulent, the employer will have proof that the documents, on their face, appeared to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them. If the employer chooses to make copies of documents, copies must be made and retained for all employees, regardless of the employee's national origin or citizenship status, to avoid violating antidiscrimination laws.

If an employer participates in E-Verify and an employee presents a document that triggers photo matching requirements, the employer must retain a photocopy of the document presented.

Copies of documents must not be used for any other purpose. Copying docu­ments does not relieve employers of their obligation to fully complete Section 2 of the Form I-9, nor is it an acceptable substitute for proper completion of the Form I-9 in general. If copies or electronic images of the employee's documents are made, they must either be retained with the Form I-9 or stored with the employee's records.


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.