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I-9 Identification Storage

Hello, I’m aware that employee identification cannot be placed in their personnel files but can they be stored in a separate I-9 binder together with their I-9. I didn’t think that was allowed. Thank you.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recommends storing completed Forms I-9 and any copies of documents in a manner that fits business needs and makes the information available for inspection. Federal law requires all employers to verify that every new employee is either a U.S. citizen or authorized to be employed in the U.S. There is no regulation that requires employers to store the forms and related documents separately from the employee’s personnel file. However, it is highly recommended to do so.

Form I-9 requires the collection of personal information from employees. Such information includes social security number, date of birth, national origin, and race. Employers must provide adequate safeguards to ensure the personal information is not accessible to non-authorized individuals. By keeping the forms and related documents separate from personnel files, access to the personal information is greatly reduced; thus, limiting allegations that employment decisions were based on protected characteristics such as national origin and race.

If I-9 records are audited, storing them in one easily accessible file allows for a quick, efficient review. Separate filing also limits the auditor’s access to other information normally stored in an employee’s personnel file.

For the purpose of Form I-9 employees must present unexpired original documentation that shows the employer their identity and employment authorization. The employer or authorized agent is responsible for ensuring the documents are acceptable and genuine. Unless the employer uses E-Verify, there is no mandate to retain copies of the identification presented by employees.

It’s recommended to retain copies in case the documents prove to be fraudulent. If such a situation occurs, the employer has proof that the documents appeared to be genuine. Also, if the employer completes an internal I-9 review, which is recommended every few years, having copies of the documents makes it easier to correct mistakes. If an employer chooses to retain copies of the documents, it’s important to do so in a consistently applied manner.

Since copies of the documents provided for Form I-9 cannot be used for any other purpose, it’s recommended to store them with the Form I-9.


This entry was posted on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 at 11:31 am and is filed under
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