When Completing the Form I-9 Process, What Document Types Can You Accept?

Confirming that an individual is authorized to work in the United States is mandatory for employers across the nation. Form I-9 form is the required document for doing so, though some employers may also be required to complete the E-Verify process.

To verify someone’s authorization to work in the United States, you must confirm their identity and eligibility using Form I-9. Doing so requires examining vital personal documents provided by applicants. The government defines lists of acceptable documents for this process, called List A and Lists B and C. Let’s unravel what you need to understand about these documents and what types of documents you can accept.

Can You Require Candidates to Submit Documents From a Given List?

No. Employers must accept any appropriate documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them. Therefore, you cannot refuse to accept otherwise acceptable documents for evaluation from a given list You also cannot request an employee provide a specific document or request that they provide more or different documents than are required by Form I-9.

What is List A?

List A contains official documents that verify both an individual’s identity and employment authorization. If a candidate supplies an acceptable document from List A, they should not be asked to produce any additional documents. For a complete list of acceptable List A documents, please refer to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) website or the current version of Form I-9. Be sure to check the USCIS site regularly for updates on valid documents and to learn more about special cases such as combination documents.

What are the List A Documents?

List A documents mostly comprise paperwork issued to US citizens but also include some options for foreign nationals. List A may also allow document combinations, but for these purposes, they count as a single unit.

List A includes:

  • United States Passport Cards and Passport Books
  • The Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (aka Form I-551). Note that these cards change designs regularly, but new styles do not invalidate old ones before their expiration date.
  • Employment Authorization Document Card (aka Form I-766)
  • Foreign passports, when accompanied by Form I-94A or Form I-94, a work endorsement, and a travel record
  • Foreign passports with an I-551 stamp or associated form
  • Passports from the Marshall Islands or Micronesia with Form I-94/94A included

What Are Lists B and C?

Individuals who do not choose to present a document from List A will instead need to provide a combination of one document from List B and one document from List C. List B contains documents that establish an individual’s identity. List C contains documents to establish an individual’s employment authorization. For a complete list of acceptable List B and C documents, please refer to the USCIS website or the current version of Form I-9.

What Are the List B and List C Documents?

List B documents that can verify a candidate’s identity include:

  • Driver’s licenses
  • State ID cards
  • Military ID cards
  • Voter registration documents
  • Draft cards
  • Military dependent ID cards
  • Merchant Mariner Document cards
  • Enrolled Native American tribal documents
  • Canadian driver’s licenses

Minors under the age of 18 seeking to work may provide report cards, medical records, or daycare records to verify identity.

List C documents to verify a candidate’s eligibility to work in the United States include:

  • Social Security cards that do not contain restrictions
  • Form FS-240, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Form FS-545, a Certification of Birth Abroad, OR Form DS-1350, a Certification of Report of Birth, both from the US State Department
  • Certified original copies of state birth certificates
  • Tribal documents
  • US Citizen ID Cards, called Form I-197
  • The Form I-179, called an Identification Card for the use of a Resident Citizen in the United States
  • Department of Homeland Security-issued employment authorizations, including Forms I-94 Arrival/Departure, Form I-571, and others. Consult the USCIS I-9 Central website for regular updates on valid documents and to learn more about special cases such as combination documents.

How can you evaluate Form I-9 documents effectively?

The government doesn’t expect employers to become experts at reviewing documents. Instead, there is the expectation that you accept documents that reasonably appear to be genuine and relate to the individual who presented them. This requires examining the documents and information presented on them, such as the name that is listed. You must complete an in-person examination, or a live video conference if your organization meet the federal requirements to do so. The USCIS provides helpful tips for examining documents and guidance on what to do in certain scenarios.

Familiarize yourself with these documents today

Knowing what types of documents you can accept during the US employment eligibility verification process is key to helping protect your business from penalties during a later inspection. You should make an effort to familiarize yourself with all the document types on the Form I-9 Acceptable Documents Lists. Similarly, stay up to date on changes in documents to avoid accepting outdated versions.

Get instant updates on Form I-9 and E-verify

Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based backgroundchecks.com with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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