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Who needs to complete a Form I-9? Are there exceptions to the I-9 requirement?

You  are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for every employee you hire for employment in the United States regardless of citizenship or nationality. The exceptions to this requirement are as follows:

  • Individuals hired on or before Nov. 6, 1986, who are continuing in their employment and have a reasonable expectation of employment at all times.
  • Individuals hired for employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on or before Nov. 27, 2009.
  • Individuals employed for casual domestic work in a private home on a sporadic, irregular or intermittent basis.
  • Independent contractors (however, federal law prohibits individuals or businesses from contracting with an independent contractor knowing that the independent contractor is not authorized to work in the United States).
  • Individuals providing labor who are employed by a contractor providing contract services (for example, employee leasing or temporary agencies).
  • Individuals not physically working in the United States.

In addition, a self-employed person does not need to complete an I-9 on his or her own behalf unless the person is an employee of a business entity, such as a corporation or partnership.

Interns do not complete an I-9 unless they receive something of value from the employer in exchange for their labor and services. This is known as remuneration. Unremunerated individuals, including interns/student trainees, are not required to complete an I-9.

Job applicants should not complete an I-9. Only individuals who have actually been extended and accepted an offer of employment should complete an I-9.

An individual referred to the employer from a state employment agency or state workforce agency may be certified by the referring agency as authorized to work in the U.S. When you receive this type of certification for a new hire, you may accept the certification in lieu of completing an I-9. Click here for more information from the USCIS on referrals from state workforce agencies.


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