Process for Form I-9 inspections

If you are the owner, executive or human resources professional of a company with direct employees, you know that all people you hire must complete a variety of documentation as part of their onboarding. One federally mandated document is the Form I-9, known as the Employment Eligibility Verification form. The purpose of the Form I-9 is to confirm a person’s legal ability to work in the United States. 

Employees from multiple federal agencies may request an inspection of your company’s I-9 forms. Unless the government has a subpoena or a warrant, they must provide you with at least three days’ notice prior to an inspection. This notice must be in writing. Businesses must provide all access to hardcopy or electronic records and may be deemed in violation of the law if they fail to do so. 

Inspections may be in person at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office or via mail. Any potential violations found by the inspectors will be categorized as either technical or substantive. It is the substantive violations that may lead to further actions, including a formal warning or a Notice of Intent to File. In the case of the Notice of Intent to File, your business may be subject to a hearing on the matter unless a settlement with the government can be reached. 

If you would like to learn more about the process for a federal inspection of your company’s immigration employment forms, please feel free to visit the Form I-9 compliance and inspection page of our immigration and employment website.