I-9 Links

    Our offices periodically sends email updates to H.R. managers on immigration developments of concern.  If you would like to receive these updates, please provide your email address:  

Please send HR updates to me at:
        Name:   Position:  


USCIS Handbook for Employers

This was last published in June, 2011.  While not completely up todate, it provides excellant guidance for  many special situations as well as general guidance.

Automatic extension for F-1 students with OPT and pending H petitions

Where an employer files an application for change of status to H-1b for an F-1 student with OPT and asks for an October 1st start date, the period of OPT is automatically extended through October 1st, if:

  • the application is timely filed
  • the student has OPT valid at the time the application is filed
  • the application is not rejected or denied
  • the student has not violated the terms or conditions of their nonimmigrant status.

The automatic extension applies to both "duration of status" and to employment authorization, and is automatically terminated upon the rejection, denial, or revocation of the H-1b petition.

See page 16 of the Handbook:

  "The studentís expired OPT Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766), along with Form I-20, which shows that the cap-gap extension was endorsed by the studentís designated school official, would qualify as a List A document. You should record these documents in Section 2 under List A (or Section 3 if reverifying) of Form I-9. These documents are acceptable for establishing employment authorization through September 30 of the year in which you filed the H-1B petition or until the H-1B petition is rejected, denied, or withdrawn. You must reverify employment authorization when the Form I-20 cap-gap endorsement expires but not later than October 1.


An example of how a document with an expiration date, might not really expire on that date - certain EAD documents have been extended by publication in the Federal Register, and a General Counsel Memo confirms the automatic extension.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has published a BACKGROUNDER on Social Security and Immigration.

Sample of "No Match" letter from Social Security Administration
    This is a large PDF file.


Special Situations:

No Social Security Number????   

An employee may be authorized to work without a Social Security number.  In fact, the Social Security Administration has provided instructions as to how to handle an employee who has applied for a number, but not yet received it.   An employee who provides a Group 1 or a Group II and Group III document must not be required to provide a Social Security document for I-9 purposes.

Laminated Social Security Card???

The Social Security Administration states that it is not illegal to laminate a social security card.

The USCIS, in its Handbook for Employers (page 14) states that a laminated Social Security card is not acceptable to document employment authorization, if the card states "not valid if laminated."  Otherwise, Social Security cards which are laminated may be accepted.  (Some Social Security Cards state "do not laminate" - those may be accepted).

So should you accept a laminated card?  Remember, the document must appear to be genuine, as well as relate to the individual presenting it.  Lamination may obscure security features on the card.  If the laminated card appears suspicious, or if the back of the card is obscured, it should not be accepted.  However, be certain that any policy regarding acceptance of laminated cards apply equally to all applicants - based on the card, and not on the nationality of the applicant.  "Suspicion" can arise because of the condition of the card, not the appearance or accent of the applicant.  




    Asylees and refugees are authorized to work without EAD cards.

EADs issued pursuant to a grant of Temporary Protected Status are often extended by Federal Register Notice.  If the EAD shows ``274A.12(A)(12)'' or ``274A.12(C)(19)'' on the face of the card under ``Provision of Law'' then check the CIS web site to determine if an extension has been granted.  As of  October, 2006 certain nationals of the following countries could have TPS:

Burundi: TPS re-registration period from September 14, 2006 to November 13, 2006. Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) auto extended through May 2, 2007.
El Salvador: TPS re-registration period from July 3, 2006 to September 1, 2006. EADs auto-extended through March 9, 2007. Designation extended through September 9, 2007.
Honduras: TPS re-registration period ended June 1, 2006. EADs auto-extended through January 5, 2007. Designation extended through July 5, 2007.
Liberia: The designation of Liberia for TPS has been terminated effective 12:01 a.m. October 1, 2007. To maintain TPS benefits through September 30, 2007, Liberian TPS beneficiaries must comply with re-registration requirements. The 60-day re-registration period begins September 20, 2006, and ends November 20, 2006. EADs auto-extended through April 1, 2007.
Nicaragua: TPS re-registration period ended June 1, 2006. EADs auto-extended through January 5, 2007. Designation extended through July 5, 2007.
Somalia: TPS re-registration period from July 27, 2006 to September 25, 2006. EADs auto-extended through March 17, 2007. Designation last extended through March 17, 2008.
Sudan: TPS re-registration period ended November 1, 2005. EAD extension sticker valid through February 28, 2006. Designation last extended through May 2, 2007.

The EAD is a valid "LIST A" document.  Although the expiration shown on the document may be an earlier date, Form I-9 should be completed showing an expiration of extension date.  If a copy of the EAD is maintained with the I-9, please annotate it "valid through (extension date)" as per Federal Register Notice"


Citizens of Republic of Marshall Islands:

"Effective May 1, 2004, employers may (and should) accept unexpired RMI
passports together with an unexpired admission document (i.e. an I-94)
issued at the port of entry by the U.S. government as evidence of both
identity and employment eligibility for I-9 purposes. These documents
should be entered under Section 2 as List A documents. Expiration dates
should be recorded, and reverification conducted upon expiration of either
document (note that an I-94 for Compact entry may indicate "D/S" (duration
of status) or otherwise lack a specific expiration date. An annotation on
the I-94 indicating "CFA/MIS" shows admission of an RMI citizen under the
Compact (other annotations showing Compact admission may be encountered)."
This may apply shortly to citizens of  Federated States of Micronesia.

And on another note....  A false claim to U.S. citizenship is a crime and has severe immigration consequences.  But what about an applicant who checks the "citizen" block on a Form I-9?  That block actually doesn't just refer to citizens, but to citizens and nationals of the United States.  One court has reversed a conviction for making a false claim to US citizenship because "no rational juror could find beyond a reasonable doubt that, by checking the 
box on the I-9 Form, he made a claim to be a U.S. citizen as opposed to a U.S. national."  U.S. v. Karouni, 9th Cir. 03-10327, Aug 24, 2004. 

For Discussion:  Atlanta Employer Committee September 28, 2006

  • The penalties
  • The risks - criminal and civil
  • Let's look at the I-9 form  (and what's not on the form!)
  • What the regulation says (form is different)
  • Why you can't be a document expert/examiner
  • What are your policies?
  • Electronic storage/completion?  
  • SAVE - The Basic Pilot Employment Verification Program (Basic Pilot)
  • ICE - "Safe-Harbor Procedures for Employers who Receive a No Match Letter"
    - "constructive knowledge" = "knowing"
    - 60 days - reverify w/o any document with SSN number
     - published for comment June 14, 2006 - not yet the law
  • Social Security Response -
    - "employers should not use the letter to take any adverse action.."
  • Georgia Security & Immigration Compliance Act  (text)
    a "model" for the country
    - effective July 1, 2007 for most provisions
    - tax provision effective January 1, 2008
    -  no deduction for wages or "compensation" (1099!) paid to any individual unless they produce "valid identification and employment authorization document"
    -  State agencies, departments and public employers ("political subdivisions") must require contractors and their subs to electronically verify employment eligibility of their employees
  • Also contains anti "coercion clauses" - can't hold documents, passports, or threaten anyone with deportation or criminal proceedings to obtain services
  • penalties include criminal, civil, and civil forfeiture