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Employment eligibility verification as an employer

In the US, employers must verify the identity of each new hire and their authorization to accept employment in the US. Employers and workers must each complete their sections of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9. Reverification is not required for US Citizens. The Zenefits onboarding experience automates the Form I-9 Verification process in two parts: the worker side, and the employer side.

In Zenefits, the following classifications will be prompted to complete an I-9:

  • All workers with a US worker location and
  • Employees who are marked as full time, part time, or intern
  • Company-paid temps

In Zenefits, the following classifications will not be prompted to complete an I-9:

  • All international employees and contingent workers
  • US based agency paid temps, vendor employees, independent contractors, and volunteers

Questions on how to classify your staff? Check out our understanding employment types page.

Verify a Form I-9 in Zenefits

Employers are required by law to view and verify physical copies of eligibility documents within three business days of the first day of work.

  • Once the worker has provided information about their citizenship status in Zenefits, administrators can then verify the documents and complete the employer's side of Form I-9.
  • Zenefits does not integrate with E-Verify for I-9 verification.

How to Verify Eligibility Documents on Zenefits 

To verify eligibility documents:

  1. Select the Directory app and choose the employee from the list.

  2. Click on Documents on the left side of the page.
  3. In the I-9 section, place your pointer over Requires Action and click on Verify.

The requirement poses some difficulty when a remote worker is sufficiently far from the employer's office, e.g., in another state. In this case, employers may designate an authorized representative who will verify the documents in person.

Once the form is saved, the employer's part of Form I-9 will be automatically populated with information that Zenefits has on file for the company, and the digital signature of the administrator who verified the documents. The completed I-9 form can be downloaded from the worker's page in the Documents table.

More Information

See this page for instructions on correcting clerical errors (wrong date entered, misspellings) on the employer side of Form I-9.

Verify I-9 documents for remote workers

Employers are required to inspect and verify, in person, the authenticity of a new worker's eligibility documents (passport, driver's license, etc.) within 3 days of their first day of work.

In most US states, remote workers who cannot travel to the employer have two options for verification:

Note: The information below was provided by Zenefits' legal counsel. Do not edit or alter the text below.

  • Employers may designate an authorized representative to inspect the documents for remote workers, or
  • The worker may use a notary public if the employer has not already designated an authorized representative.

I-9 Verification in California

In California, a notary public is not qualified to inspect and verify I-9 eligibility documents unless they are also certified and bonded as an immigration consultant. Remote workers in California have two options for verification.

  • Option 1: The employer chooses an Authorized Representative to verify the I-9 Form.

    Oftentimes, employers use notaries to complete the Form I-9 for their remote workers. Notaries, when doing so, act in their capacity as an agent or representative of the company and not in their capacity as a notary public. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) responsible for the I-9 states that it is acceptable to use a notary in this capacity. However, in California, notaries are not qualified to complete a Form I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity, unless they are qualified and bonded as immigration consultants under state law. An immigration consultant in California must be bonded and pass a background check.

  • Option 2: Find a notary that is qualified and bonded as an immigration consultant.

    If they do find such a notary, note that the Form I-9 does not require an authorized notarial act of any kind, for either the worker's execution of the document or the Authorized Representative’s. If a notary is agreeing to to serve as an employer’s Authorized Representative, they are not serving as a notary in any capacity. The Form I-9 does not require a notarial act, and they must not affix a notarial seal impression on it. They are signing the form in the capacity of Authorized Representative of the verifying employer.

Remote staff who work in California will need to talk with their employer to find out which of the above options make the most sense.

Note: If the worker is using a notary, the I-9 form will need to be completed by hand as the notary won't have access to the Zenefits Dashboard to "complete employer side". The form will need to be sent back to the admin who can upload it to the worker's Documents.
Do I need to retain and store Form I-9?

Yes. Employers are required to maintain a completed Form I-9 for each worker on payroll for 3 years after the worker's hire date or one year after the worker leaves the company, whichever is longer.

Since Zenefits serves as the system of record for I-9 forms, there is no need to print the form while the company continues to use Zenefits. However, should the company choose to discontinue its use of Zenefits, copies of each  I-9 should be printed and stored.

Will I receive notifications about expiration of eligibility documents?

Yes. Zenefits will send four separate email notifications to primary administrators by email prior to the date of expiration of an employee's employment eligibility documentation (e.g., work visa). Administrators will receive these notifications at 90 days, 60 days, 30 days, and 7 days prior to the date of expiration.

Employers must request new eligibility documentation from the employee and reverify the employee's eligibility no later the expiration date of the current documentation.

Reverification is not required for US Citizens, but may be required for permanent citizens who provided temporary authorizations.

What the I-9 Expiration Notification email looks like 

SL: Bob Cratchit’s eligibility documents are expiring in 90 days
Hi Ebenezer,

We wanted to let you know that Bob Cratchit's passport is expiring in 90 days. Before an employee’s eligibility documentation expires, you’ll need to request updated documentation and then reverify their employment authorization.

What does this mean?
If you want Bob to continue working at your company after September 27th—you must request updated eligibility documentation and reverify their work authorization on or before the day their current documentation expires.

Here’s what you need to know about reverifying this employee’s work authorization:
By law, you cannot require Bob to present an updated passport; you must accept any document that completely satisfies the requirements for reverifying employment authorization.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Notify this employee as soon as possible.
  • Follow these instructions on how to get and reverify an employee’s documents.
  • Let us know when you’ve either reverified this employee’s document—or decided not to—by clicking here.

If you have specific questions about the reverification process, please consult your legal counsel.

If an administrator chooses not to reverify the employee's documentation, Zenefits will not send additional reminders to the employee or administrator.

Reverify work authorization documents

To request and verify a work authorization document:

Note: Reverification is not required for US Citizens but may be required for permanent citizens who provided temporary authorizations.

  1. Notify the worker. Let them know that one or more of their eligibility documents are expiring. Please do this as soon as possible so they have enough time to provide new document(s).
  2. Physically examine the updated document(s). Only List A and List C documents should be reverified. Digital copies of verification documents are insufficient. USCIS regulations require in person verification of all documents, even for remote workers.
  3. Hover over the Complete button, then click "Reverify". Follow the instructions to complete the reverification process. Keep in mind that different rules may apply to someone being rehired after 3 years.
  4. Follow the prompts and sign to complete the reverification process.
Edit the information on a Form I-9

If you need to change Form I-9 information that has been submitted, you can send a request. Before making any changes, review and follow the USCIS instructions for correcting a Form I-9.

  1. In the Workers section of the admin dashboard, click on the person whose I-9 you want to verify. Or click the Directory app and choose from the list of workers.
  2. Click on Documents on the left side of the page.
  3. In the I-9 section, place your pointer over Completed and click on Modify.
  4. A pop-up box will confirm that worker-submitted data will be modified.
  5. Upon selecting the bubble for Yes, the pop-up box will expand.
  6. Enter the reason for requesting these corrections and select Send Request.

Do not request a new Form I-9.

Run a report to find out when eligibility documents expire

Yes. Administrators and managers can run the Eligibility Report in the Business Intelligence card to review the status of the eligibility documents that were provided for I-9  verification during onboarding to Zenefits.

To run the report:

  1. From the admin dashboard, click the Business Intelligence app.
  2. Click Download under the Eligibility Report.

The report will contain:

  • names, hire dates, and employment status,
  • I-9  verification status for the worker, the date of verification, and the person who verified the documents,
  • the date that the documents should be reverified, which is set 90 days in advance of the expiration date provided when the document was uploaded. For further information on when Section 3 Reverification of an I-9 needs to be completed, please consult the USCIS website.
Request a modification to an I-9 Form

Only workers are able to edit Section 1 of their I-9  form . However, an admin can send a request to modify their I-9.

  1. In the Workers section of the admin dashboard, click on the person whose I-9 you want to verify. Or click the Directory app and choose the worker from the list.
  2. Click on Documents on the left side of the page.
  3. In the I-9 section, place your pointer over Completed and click on Modify.
  4. Select Yes and enter in a reason for the request.
  5. Click Send Request.
Who is authorized to sign off on I-9 verification?

Individuals who can sign the employer's side of an I-9 document are any authorized representative of the company, such as:

  • Primary Administrator
  • Direct Manager
  • HR Manager

Administrators can give managers authorization to sign and complete the employer's side of I-9 documents by clicking on Permissions on the right side of the Company Profile and changing the Direct Reports  I-9 Documents

How workers edit I-9 documentation

Before an administrator or manager completes the I-9  verification, workers may edit the documentation that they have submitted. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Personal Information app
  2. Select Eligibility & I-9
  3. Select the pencil in the top right corner 

Administrators may also request a modification to an  I-9 form by following the steps here.

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