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What Is I-9 Compliance? A Brief Guide for Employers Hiring in the U.S.


  • I-9 compliance is a crucial step in hiring U.S. employees which certifies that employees are eligible to work in the country.
  • Completing the I-9 form accurately and within the right time frame is mandatory for every employee you hire for employment in the U.S.
  • At Lightsource Global, we simplify U.S. expansion by enabling you to hire top talent in the country and navigate employment regulations, including I-9 compliance. Contact us to get started!

Building a U.S. team? As you onboard new hires, understanding I-9 compliance is crucial. This ensures your workforce is legally authorized to work in the United States.

Verifying this authorization through the I-9 form, or Employment Eligibility Verification Form, is a mandatory step for all U.S. employers. This brief guide helps you ensure I-9 compliance. We’ll explain the I-9 form, the completion process, and best practices for maintaining compliance.

Let’s dive in!

Bringing on U.S. Talent? Don't Forget the Mandatory I-9 Form!

What Is I-9 Compliance?

I-9 compliance is the process of confirming your employees are eligible to work in the U.S, overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This involves using a government form called the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, or simply, the I-9 form.

Federal law mandates that all U.S. employers verify their employees’ work authorization. By following I-9 compliance procedures, you’re not only protecting your business from potential legal issues, but also ensuring a smooth onboarding experience for your new hires and staying compliant with USCIS regulations.

Form I-9 violations can have serious consequences for your business, including civil and criminal penalties. For instance, failing to comply with I-9 paperwork can cost your business between $281 and $2,789 per violation.

What Is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is the official document used to record employee information and verify their employment authorization.

All U.S. employers, regardless of industry or company size, are legally required to complete Form I-9 for every employee they hire. This applies to both U.S. citizens and authorized non-citizens.

Employers and new hires each complete separate sections of the form.

How to Complete Form I-9?

The I-9 verification process involves two main parts:

  • Section 1: Employee Information and Attestation – This must be completed and signed by the employee any time after they accept the job offer and before the end of their first day at work. They’ll provide their personal details and attest to their work authorization status.
  • Section 2: Employer Review and Verification – This must be completed by you, the employer, or your authorized representative, within three business days of the employee’s start date. It involves examining the employee’s documentation and verifying their eligibility to work in the U.S. Employees must provide documentation proving their identity and work authorization, from the USCIS’s list of acceptable Form I-9 documents.

Tips to Maintain I-9 Compliance

  • Keep records: Store the completed I-9 form safely for at least three years after the hire date or one year after the employee’s employment ends, whichever is later.
  • Don’t delay: Complete Section 2 of the I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of work.
  • Don’t discriminate: You can’t request specific documents to prove citizenship, immigration status, or national origin when establishing their employment authorization. Also, you can’t discourage employees from using a particular document combination from the USCIS list.
  • Seek help: If you have any questions or uncertainties about the I-9 process, consider consulting with an immigration attorney or HR professional.
Here’s How to Complete the I-9 Form

Ensuring I-9 Compliance: A Smooth Start for Your U.S. Team

Navigating U.S. compliance can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to hinder your growth.

At Lightsource Global, we help businesses hire top-talent in the U.S. without having to stablish a physical location in the country. Our EOR service helps you bring experienced employees on board. We take care of the complexities of onboarding, including I-9 verification, and compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. From start to finish, we’ve got you covered.

Ready to expand your business? Contact us and discover how we can streamline your U.S. expansion while ensuring compliance.

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