The Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) is required by federal immigration law. Employers are required to verify each employee’s identity and eligibility to work in the United States at the time of hire. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency enforces this requirement and can impose civil fines and criminal penalties for failure to comply with the law. In addition, non-compliance can result in the loss of federal contracts.
The University uses the federal program, E-Verify, to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Information from the employee’s Form I-9 is submitted to E-Verify for employment verification. This must be completed for every new hire as well as for any current employee who does not have a current Form I-9 on file in the last three years and who begins working on a federal contract. The employee can complete their Form I-9, 45 days prior to their start date and no later than their first day of work for pay. The employer has to ensure all sections of the Form I-9 has been completed within the first 3 days of work of work for pay which includes submission to
Hiring Department Responsibilities
I-9 Partners should be familiar with the federal deadlines for the Form I-9 and E-Verify and the risks of non-compliance, as described on this page. Each hiring department is responsible for having procedures in place to collect the Form I-9 prior to the employee’s start date (no earlier than 45 days) and no later than, the employee’s first day of work for pay.
E-Verify is done electronically through the Human Resource Service Center team members. Only the Records and Onboarding Specialist Partner roles have access to the web-based system. I-9 Partners do not have access to the E-Verify system.
In addition, the federal government provides the I-9 Central webpage, the E-Verify User Manual (PDF) and the I-9 Handbook for Employers (PDF). These are easy to navigate resources with detailed explanations and illustrations.
Finally, HR Executives, HR Contacts and Delegates must be familiar with the paper version of the Form I-9 (PDF) and the Form I-9 Instructions (PDF). You should be prepared to provide the instructions included in the paper form to the employee while completing an electronic Form I-9. The Form I-9 Document Matrix (.xlsx) is a useful tool to provide additional guidance as to what forms are to be used as acceptable List A, B and C documents. Additionally, it helps I-9 Partners to better understand what documents are needed to be uploaded in Workday and or attached to the Form I-9 for E-Verify photo matching purposes.
For example: “May I accept a List B identity document without a photo if I participate in E-Verify?” No. E-Verify employers may only accept List B identify documents that contain a photograph, this includes minors.
Spanish Language I-9 Central Web Site
USCIS released an updated Spanish Language I-9 Central web site on Aug. 23. This updated web site will improve user experience and give visitors information and resources in Spanish about the Form I-9 and employment eligibility verification process. The new look includes:
- A rotating banner highlighting the latest Form I-9 news
- Easier navigation to access topics of interest
- Updated information about the latest Form I-9
- Information for employers and employees on employee rights and anti-discrimination.
To learn more about Form I-9 visit the new Spanish Language I-9 Central
Who is required to complete a Form I-9?
Every employee of the University must complete the Form I-9 and their information must be verified through the E-Verify system at the time of hire. This includes faculty, staff and student employees as well as casual and temporary workers who are paid by voucher or on a flat-rate basis. If you are unsure whether a person should be considered an employee or an independent contractor, please refer to the Employee/Independent Contractor Classification Checklist (PDF).
Please refer to the following paragraphs and the chart below to determine when an I-9 is needed and when a new one is required for returning employees.
Employees who leave the university need a new Form I-9 when they return to University employment, no matter how long the break in service/employment. There are some limited situations, explained below, where a new form is not required. USCIS guidelines permits I-9 Partners to complete a Section 3 update when a person is rehired within 3 years of separation, but only if E-Verify was performed on the previous Form I-9 and the previous Form I-9 is still an acceptable version of the form. This does not apply to Form I-9s completed outside of the Workday system, documents that have expired, or for International employees. As a university practice we complete a new Form I-9 for all International employees with any break in service.
How to Handle Section 3 in Workday:
If the employee’s documents were completed outside of the Workday system, or have changed, expired and are no longer valid, the I-9 Partner who receives a Section 3 update “to do” task should click on the box to enable them to “Initiate New Form I-9 as Part of Onboarding”. This applies regardless if they are a domestic or international employee. Please see below the option for I-9 Partners in Workday.
Failure to perform E-Verify for a rehire is a serious compliance error! It is a University practice to complete a Form I-9 reverification (Section 3 update) or complete a new Form I-9 and process the employee’s information through E-Verify when an employee is rehired.
Continuation of / Interruption in Employment
In limited situations, the employee’s previous Form I-9 is acceptable and no action is required. The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) sets strict guidelines for when the break in service can be defined as a continuation of the person’s previous employment. You can use the previous Form I-9 only if the break in service (interruption in employment) meets all of the following guidelines:
- Is the employee a faculty member, student, or seasonal/temporary employee?
- At the time of separation, was the employee expected to resume employment within a reasonable time in the future?
- Was the break in employment less than one year?
- The university retains the previous Form I-9 information in the employee record for one year after separation.
- If the employee’s status is “alien authorized to work in the United States,” has the employment authorization document used on the previous Form I-9 expired?
When is a New Form I-9 Required?
||New Form I-9 Needed?
|New employee including those paid by voucher
||Yes. An employee new to the University who is receiving some form of compensation (pay or benefits) will need to complete a Form I-9.
|New international employee without a Social Security Number
Yes. An employee will complete their Section 1 and submit in Workday. The I-9 Partner will keep the Form I-9 in their Workday “inbox” until the employee provides their social security number. I-9 Partner should secure the Social Security receipt notification from the employee indicating that they have applied and are waiting for their social security number. With the pandemic it can take as long as 4 months to get receive.
Once social security number is received, I-9 Partner will send the Form I-9 back to the employee to enter their social security number and submit.
The I-9 Partner will complete Section 2, verify all of the List A, B or C documents provided and make sure the documents used are uploaded in Workday under the “Personal” tab in Workday under “Form I-9” documents to ensure the HRSC team can review the documents used if needed when submitting to E-Verify.
||No. A Form I-9 only needs to be completed by a person who is considered to be an “employee”. A volunteer is a “non – employee”
|Returning after any break in service when no E-Verify on file
||Yes. The employee would complete a new Form I-9 and it would be submitted to E-Verify for employment authorization.
|Returning after any break in service and was not expected to resume employment (whether E-Verify is on file or not)
||Yes. The employee would complete a Section 3 update if they have returned with in the past 12 months. If they are students and are returning they would also complete a Section 3 update. I-9 Partners would re-verify their information. If their previous information expired, is no longer valid or changed from when they worked before they would initiate a new Form I-9 as part of onboarding.
|Returning after less than one year break – E-Verify on file and was expected to return to the same job
(i.e. faculty, student, variable worker)
A new Form I-9 is not needed if the supporting documents are still valid prior to their separation from the University.
If the documents used to authorize employment previously have expired then a new Form I-9 must be competed as part of the returning employee’s onboarding process.
|Returning from unpaid time off – Family Medical Leave, Leave Without Pay, etc.
||No. The employee has not stopped working for the University and was on a leave of absence which is different from a termination and return to hire.
Form I-9 Federal Guidelines, Deadlines, and E-Verify
The standard practice at the University is to complete the entire Form I-9 and E-Verify process prior to the employee’s first day of work, but not before the person has accepted employment.
Federal law requires the employee to complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 no later than the first day of work for pay. The employer can continue to work with the employee through end of the third work day to present unexpired, original documents to prove identity and authorization to work in the United States. Section 2 of the paper Form I-9 may be completed by the an HR Contact/I-9 Partner, Delegate, or an individual age 18 years or older acting as a representative of the University. They must view the supporting identity documents and sign and date the paper Form I-9 on or before the employee’s third day of work for pay.
Section 2 and Section 3 of the Form I-9 in Workday must be completed by an HR Contact/I-9 Partner or HRSC staff member at the University of Texas at Austin. This includes the verification of the documents that are presented.
Risk of Non-Compliance
The University, the hiring department, and the hiring manager and the I-9 Partner may be subject to some of the following penalties for non-compliance:
- Civil fines
- Criminal penalties
- Debarment from government contracts
It is important to follow the federal guidelines to reduce the risk of non-compliance to the University and to avoid being accused of actual or perceived discriminatory practices. The anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration of Nationality Act (INA) prohibit four types of unlawful conduct:
- Citizenship or immigration status discrimination
- National origin discrimination
- Document abuse during Form I-9 process
A person should never be asked to complete the Form I-9 until he or she has accepted employment with the University. USCIS prohibits employers from requesting specific documents and therefore must make available the federal I-9 List of Acceptable Documents to establish both identity and employment authorization. The employee must present documents that are unexpired.
Completing an Electronic Form I-9
I-9 Partners and Records and Onboarding Specialists are authorized to initiate the Form I-9 process and complete the Form I-9 and E-Verify as a representative of the University. Each department maintains its list of I-9 Partners. You can view your supporting staff in Workday by accessing your View Profile, in the navigation menu select Job, and then select the Support Roles tab.
To be completed on the first day of work. Earlier is acceptable, but the form cannot be completed more than 45 days prior to the assignment beginning. The task automatically appears in the employee’s inbox after the Onboarding Setup task has been completed.
- Using Workday,your employee may complete Section 1 prior to their first day without DUO two-factor authentication. On and after their first day High Assurance and DUO two-factor authentication will be required to complete Section 1.
- Be sure to inform your new hire that he/she will be required to present a document or combination of documents from the list of acceptable documents no later than the third work day.
- Have a paper Form I-9 available so that the employee may refer to the form instructions and list of acceptable documents.
To be completed no later than the employee’s third workday. Only an I-9 Partner should viewed the original documents from the I-9 List of Acceptable Documents to complete this section. Note: The task automatically appears in the inbox of the I-9 Partner after the employee submits Section 1 of the Form I-9. Refer to the Form I-9 Document Matrix (.xlsx) for more information about Form I-9 acceptable documents.
Section 2 must be completed no later than 3 days after the first day of work.
- Accept the first valid document or combination of documents presented. Accept only originals and do not ask for or accept more than is required.
- Record each document title, issuing authority, document number, and expiration date (if applicable).
- Enter the employment begin/hire date (month/day/year). Use the current date, if you are completing the form before the employee's actual first day of work.
- Click E-Verify to submit the form to E-Verify.
- If the employee is a non-citizen waiting for an SSN, click Save to retain the form. You will submit E-Verify when the SSN is received.
Form I-9, Section 3 is used to confirm or update the employee’s authorization to work in the United States. This task requires two-factor authentication. Section 3 can only be completed by the I-9 Partner.
When completing Section 2 or Section 3 of the Form I-9, the I-9 Partner must view original documents from the I-9 List of Acceptable Documents. Valid documentation for Section 2 is one selection from List A, or one selection from List B and one from List C. Refer to the Form I-9 Document Matrix (.xlsx) for more information about Form I-9 acceptable documents.
- Accept the first valid document or combination of documents presented.
- Accept only originals and do not ask for or accept more than is required.
- Be sure the employee has signed the documents.
- List B documents must have a photo of the employee.
- Do not accept a Social Security Card if it has one of these restrictions printed on the card.
- NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT
- VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION
- VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION
- If the employee presents one of these List A documents, you must upload a copy of the document to the Form I-9 record.
- US Passport or Passport Card
- Employment Authorization Card
- Permanent Resident Card
When the employee chooses to use a Foreign Passport, they must also present an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. If the I-94 shows D/S in the Admit Until field, the employee must show a third document to prove they are authorized to work for UT Austin. This third document is typically an I-20 or DS-2019.
The employee must use his/her current legal name on the I-9. When a Social Security Card is used, the name on the card must match the name on the Form I-9. For other documents, you can accept them if they appear to be genuine and related to the individual who is presenting them, even if the person’s name has changed since the document was issued.
Once the new Form I-9 is complete it is submitted to E-Verify automatically. You will find detailed instructions for E-Verify in the Form I-9 and E-Verify Overview training mentioned above. Be prepared to print documents as need, because certain E-Verify results require you to provide a notification to the employee.
The vast majority of E-Verify queries will result in an immediate response of “Employment Authorized.” Respond to the prompts on the screen to say whether the person is still employed or not employed, and the Form I-9 and E-Verify process is complete.
Occasionally the initial response from E-Verify will be “Tentative Non-Confirmation,” also called a TNC. Follow the tentative non-confirmation steps provided in the system.
- You must contact HR, Records to have them print the TNC notice. HR will send the print out to you, review it with your employee. The employee has the right to decide whether to contest the results or not.
- The employee has 8 work days in which to address the issue and notify you when it has been resolved. The employee must be allowed to continue working while the non-confirmation is being resolved.
- Check back regularly with HR for final results.
If the employee chooses not to contest the results, or you receive a Final Non-Confirmation the person cannot continue employment. Contact Human Resources, Strategic Workforce Solutions (SWS) immediately. The person may not continue employment without confirmed authorization to work in the United States. Remember, an employee who chooses to contest the TNC cannot be dismissed unless they fail to resolve the issue or there is a final non-confirmation from E-Verify.
Verification in Process
On occasion, the initial response from E-Verify is Verification in Process. When this occurs, check the Form I-9 record daily until you receive a response. There will normally be a response from E-Verify within 24 hours.
If the employee presents a US Passport, Employment Authorization Card, or Permanent Resident Card, you may be prompted to confirm that the photo on the employee’s document matches the photo in government records. Compare the photo to the photo showing on the screen. The photo should match exactly, such as in hair style and clothing. If the photos do not match, the system will respond with a Tentative Non-Confirmation or other referral notice.
If you receive an information confirmation, this is similar to an additional verification. This is prompting you that information is not matching. Reverify documents and resubmit to E-verify.
If you receive a final non-confirmation notice, or if the employee fails to resolve a TNC or other notification as instructed, contact Human Resources, Strategic Workforce Solutions (SWS) immediately. The person may not continue employment without confirmed authorization to work in the United States.
If you hire an employee who lives in a location where there are no other UT Austin employees, you will need to ask a local university or other employer to complete a paper Form I-9 on the University’s behalf. If there are other UT employees in the location, you can temporarily designate one as an I-9 Partner to complete the electronic Form I-9. Please work with Human Resources, Records if a remote Form I-9 is needed. Note that employees who work outside the United States are not required to complete a Form I-9.
It is imperative to coordinate with Human Resources, Records and Onboarding when collecting a paper Form I-9 for a remote employee. Here are the steps to follow:
- Ask another university or employer in the area to collect a paper Form I-9
- Complete an entire paper Form I-9 with an I-9 Partner of a fellow university or HR representative.
- Fax the completed Form I-9 to HR Records at 512-232-3524
- Deliver the original Form I-9 to HR Records
- Once the completed remote Form I-9 package is received, the HR, Records must enter the Section 2 information into Workday, attach a scan of the original Form I-9, and provide comments on how the information was obtained in the employee's Workday profile.
- All steps complete by the third work day
The original Form I-9 must be sent to Human Resources to satisfy federal retention requirements. As with any new hire, all Form I-9 and E-Verify steps must be completed by the third work day.
International Workers Waiting for a Social Security Number
Social Security numbers are used to report a person’s wages to the government and to determine a person’s eligibility for Social Security benefits. Employees working in the United States need a Social Security number to get a job, collect Social Security benefits, and receive some other government services. If you’re temporarily in the United States to work, your employer will ask for your Social Security number. In general, only noncitizens authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to work in the United States can get a Social Security number. For international employees waiting for a social security number please visit: https://www.ssa.gov/ssnvisa/ebe.html
To apply for a Social Security number, please download the Application for a Social Security Card (PDF)
Section 1 of the Form I-9 must be completed by the employee no later than their first day of work for pay. Even if the international employee does not have a social security number (SSN). Once the international employee receives their SSN, the I-9 Partner will send back to the employee’s Section 1 “to do” task in Workday to enable the employee to enter their new social security number. Once completed the employee will press the submit button. It is the responsibility of the I-9 Partner and/or the HR contact within the department to ensure Workday has been updated with the new social security number. Workday under the Personal tab on the Worker Profile page under “ID”s
Most federal contracts have a clause stating that any employee working on the contract must be checked in E-Verify. This is required even if the employee was hired before the University began using E-Verify for all new hires. If a current employee who begins working on a federal contract does not have a Form I-9 with an employment authorized status in E-Verify on file. We must ensure a Form I-9 is completed for that employee in order to comply with the federal USCIS E-Verify requirements. This requirement does not apply to employees working under a federal grant. Contact Office of Sponsored Projects if you are unsure whether a contract has the E-Verify clause.