Immigration Reform and Control Act: Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Jan. 21, 2021 When Superseded 2   9   10   36   38  


On January 31, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced the release of an updated version of the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). The Form I-9 helps employers, including the District government, verify that individuals are authorized to work in the United States. This instruction provides both the revised Form I-9 (see attachment), and the necessary procedures that must be followed in order to comply with the provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), as amended. These requirements cannot be waived or altered.

NOTE: This issuance supersedes DPM Instruction No. 8-77, 9-43, 10-46, 36-15 & 38-31, Immigration Reform and Control Act: Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification effected March 13, 2017.

Work Eligibility

To be eligible to work for the District government, candidates must be 16 years of age or older, and:

  1. A citizen of the United States (U.S.), OR
  2. If not a citizen, authorized to work in the U.S.
NOTE: Without exception, candidates to uniformed positions in the Police and Fire Departments must be citizens of the United States.

All candidates regardless of citizenship status must complete the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification to be employed with the District government.

Authorizations to Work in the United State for Non-Citizens

For those who are not U.S. citizens, the following categories of individuals may work in the U.S. when authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

  1. Permanent Residents (with Permanent Resident Cards or Temporary I-551 Stamps)
  2. Temporary Workers (with H, L, TN, or O visas);
  3. Permanent Workers (with EB visas);
  4. Student and Exchange Visitors (with F, M, or J visas); and
  5. Refugees with a Temporary Protected Status (Form I-94 or Form I-94A with an endorsement to work)

Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification

Under federal law, all employers, including the District government must verify candidates’ eligibility to work in the U.S. To facilitate this verification, the USCIS requires employers to use Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification for employees.

USCIS’ most recently issued Form I-9 became effective January 31, 2020. As such, all U.S. employers must use the revised version and discontinue use of any previously issued forms.

Completing the Form

New hires must complete Section 1 of the revised Form I -9 in its entirety. New hires must also provide appropriate documentation to verify their eligibility to work in the U.S., as specified in the List of Acceptable Documents, found on the last page of the form. Based on the completed Section 1 and provided documentation, the Human Resources (HR) representative must complete Section 2, Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification.

New employees may choose which document(s) to present as provided on page 3 of Form I-9 to establish employment authorization and identity. Acceptable documentation includes one document from List A or a combination of one document from List B and one document from List C.

Providing Documents on the First Day of Employment

Employees have three business days to provide acceptable documentation to their HR representative. Employees are requested to complete their I-9 form and to submit their documentation no later than the second day of their employment to ensure that their information is received in a timely manner.  

Without exception, if the individual does not provide acceptable documentation within three business days, they cannot not return to work until they can present the necessary documentation and will not be paid for those days they do not work.

Ideally, employees should have their document(s) ready on their first day of employment.

Providing Documents After the First Day of Employment

If an employee does not have their documentation on the first day of employment, the employee may provide any receipts showing that the employee has ordered or has applied for acceptable replacement documents.

A new employee who chooses to present such receipts must do so within three business days of their first day of employment. Employees, who fail to provide either the required documentation or a receipt that the documentation has been requested will be terminated at the end of the 3rd day.

Employees who submit a receipt must provide the official documentation within 90 days. Employees who fail to submit official documentation within the allotted timeframe of their receipt will be terminated upon the expiration of their receipt.

Missing Documents

On the first day of employment, if the new employee has forgotten any required documents, they have three business days to produce the required documents or present a receipt(s) within three business days of their first day of employment.

If the employee ordered one of the acceptable documents prior to new employee orientation, the HR Representative must write the title of the receipt of the acceptable document followed by "Receipt" in Section 2 under the list that related to the receipt, as seen on page 3.

Receipts of applications for work authorization are not acceptable under the "Receipt Rule" and cannot be used as proof of work authorization, with the following exceptions:

  1. Nonimmigrants authorized to work for a specific employer (holders of H, L, TN, and O temporary worker visas) may continue their employment for up to 240 days following the expiration of their authorized period of employment upon presentation of a receipt showing that a timely extension application was filed;
  2. A H-1B (specialty occupation) status employee with a pending application for a new employer may begin work upon presentation of a receipt for the filed H-1B application;
  3. A temporary I-551 (permanent resident card stamp) on a Form I-94 serves as a receipt for an alien registration card application. An employee may work up to the expiration date on the stamp or one year from the issuance date if there is no expiration date; and
  4. A refugee admission stamp on a Form I-94, serves as a receipt for an employment authorization card, employment authorization document, or a social security card. The refugee may work up to 90 days while an application for one of these documents is pending.
Form I-94: The Form I-94 can be found on the Official website of the Department of Homeland Security at:

Special Instructions for Minors & Persons with Disabilities

If a new hire is under 18 years of age and cannot present an identity document, the minor's parent or legal guardian may complete Section 1 and enter "minor underage 18" in the signature field.

If the new hire is a person with a disability who cannot present an identity document, the employee's parent, legal guardian or the individual's representative may complete Section 1 and enter "Special Placement" in the signature field. Minors and persons with disabilities that require the representative party to complete the Preparer/Translator Certification section.


If an employee is rehired, a new Form I-9 or Section 3 of the original Form I-9 can be completed or revised only if the rehire occurs within three years of the initial completion date or if the employee is still eligible to work on the same basis as when their original form was completed.

Spanish Form I-9: The Spanish version of Form I-9 may only be used as a translation tool during the completion process. The English version of Form I-9 must be completed and filed accordingly.

Reviewing the Form

Prior to the new employee orientation, the appropriate HR representative will notify all new hires of the requirement to provide documents from the List of Acceptable Document to verify identity and eligibility to work.

On the first day of employment, the HR representative will ensure the completion of Section 1 and will examine the original documents with the employee to ensure accuracy and validity and, then, complete Section 2 of the form. If the documents do not reasonably appear to be genuine, the HR representative may reject the documents and offer an opportunity for the employee to present alternative documents from the List of Acceptable Documents. HR representatives should refer to USCIS’ guide on Examining Documents for further guidance.

Retention and Inspection of Records

The Personnel Authority must maintain the completed original Form I-9 and HR representatives are responsible for ensuring Form I-9 information is entered into PeopleSoft at the time the personnel actio is processed. HR representatives who fail to submit Form I-9 information within the given timeframe will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including removal.

All forms are stored in confidential folders within the Official Personnel Folders (OPF) until the employee is separated from the agency. Once an individual's employment ends, DCHR must retain original I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire, or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later. All document must be available for inspection by authorized officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Office of the Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) upon request.

Re-verification of Documents

HR representatives must re-verify the employment eligibility of current employees with temporary work authorization, prior to the employment authorization expiring, or the expiration of the employment authorization documents on List A, List B and List C. The employee must present unexpired documents or receipts establishing work authorization. U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or lawful permanent residents who presented a Permanent Resident Card do not require re-verification.

Anti-Discrimination Provisions

Agencies may not discriminate against an individual based on their citizenship, immigration status or national origin. Employees are not required to provide any documents to agencies during the Form I-9 completion process except those specified in the List of Acceptable Documents and the District cannot specify which documents employees must present to establish employment authorization and identity. Refusal to hire an individual because of the future expiration date of a required document may represent unlawful discrimination.


If the Form I-9 is not properly and accurately completed, the agency may be subject to penalties under federal law. If unlawful discrimination is proven, an agency may be ordered to pay substantial fines and hire or reinstate the injured party with back pay. Failure by an HR representative to ensure that a Form I-9 is completed properly and accurately may result in corrective or adverse action, up to and including termination.

Additionally, the  DHS may impose penalties if an investigation reveals that an agency knowingly hired or continued to employ an unauthorized alien or failed to comply with the employment eligibility verification requirements for employees hired after November 6, 1986. If DHS decides that the law has been violated, District government agencies regardless of personnel authority or independence may be subject to civil and criminal penalties. 


All agencies, regardless of personnel authority or independence are required by law to comply with the Form I-9 employment verification process.

Additional Information

For additional information concerning this issuance, please contact the D.C. Department of Human Resources, Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to dchr.policy@dc,gov.


  1. Attachment 1 - Form I-9

Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on Jan. 21, 2021, 8:48 a.m.