How Do You Verify I-9’s for Remote Employees?

Nov 08 2017

Verifying I-9’s for remote employees is a tricky business. Legally you must comply with the same verification window that you have for local employees, but this obviously isn’t feasible when a new hire lives very far away. How do you remain compliant while not spending a fortune in travel fees to personally verify the validity of documents? Here are 4 things you need to know about I-9 compliance for remote employees:

1. The 3-Business Day Rule Applies to ALL Hires
You legally have 3 business days from a new hire’s start date to verify their eligibility to work—whether they are working in the office next door, or on the other side of the country.

2. You Must Verify Work Authorization Documents In-Person
If you’ve just hired a remote web developer and he lives 2,000 miles away from your office, you must designate someone to physically examine his documents in-person to establish that his identity and employment eligibility are valid.

3. Who Can Verify Employment Eligibility for Remote Employees?
The law says employers must use a “trusted agent or representative.” This language is ambiguous, and the specifications for who qualifies vary by state. Common examples include licensed notaries, attorneys, government employees, and HR professionals. The important factor is that the “trusted agent or representative” must understand what they are being asked to do, must feel comfortable attesting to the validity of employment documents, and must accurately complete page 2 of the Form I-9. To help save time and minimize errors, have your HR manger get on the phone with the “trusted agent or representative” and walk them through how to accurately complete the I-9 and verify employment eligibility.

4. Review Completed I-9’s for Accuracy
It’s easy to make an error on an I-9, but even one mistake puts your company at risk. Review completed I-9’s to ensure your “trusted agent or representative” has accurately filled out the form. Common errors include: missing or inaccurate information, and/or an incorrect combination of documents. Your company will be liable for any mistakes—regardless of who verifies the information, so it’s in your best interest to audit all paperwork. If you notice an error, put a line through the mistake, initial & date it, and enter the correct information.

Happy Hiring!


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