What Documents are Acceptable for Verifying Form I-9?

Documents for Verifying Employment Eligibility-Form I-9
••• Sigrid Gombert/Getty Images

All new hires must verify their eligibility to work legally in the U.S. This verification process includes Form I-9. The employee states eligibility and verifies that eligibility by providing documents. Then, the employer reviews the documents and attests that they are acceptable. The process of completing Form I-9 is in two steps: 

Step 1- The employee completes Section 1, attesting to the documents presented, and

Step 2 - The employer verifies the documents. 

Read more below on where to find I-9 forms. 

Acceptable Documents Criteria 

The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) lists documents which are acceptable as verification for identity and work authorization.

Acceptable documents must establish both (1) identity of the individual and (2) employment authorization. Some documents establish both; these documents are in List A. Some documents are acceptable to establish identity; these documents are in List B. Some documents establish employment authorization; these documents are in List C.

An employer may accept one document from List A. If no List A document is provided, the employee must provide one document from List B and one document from List C, to establish both identity and work eligibility.

The I-9 form does not require an employee to provide a social security number, and it doesn't require a photo on identity (List B) documents. 

List A Documents

Documents which establish both identity and eligibility:

  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Permanent resident card or alien registration receipt card (a "green card") (Form I-551)
  • Foreign passport containing a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa
  • In the case of a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer incident to status, a foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A bearing the same name as the passport and containing an endorsement of the alien's nonimmigrant status, as long as the period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations identified on the form
  • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admissions under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI

List B Documents

Documents which establish identity (must be used in conjunction with a List C document):

  • Driver's license or ID card issued by a U.S. state or outlying possession of the U.S. provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • School ID with a photograph
  • Voter's registration card
  • U.S. Military card or draft record
  • Military dependent's ID card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Card
  • Native American tribal document
  • Driver's license issued by a Canadian government authority
  • For persons under age 18 who are unable to present a document listed above: a school record or report card; clinic, doctor, or hospital record; day care or nursery school record.

List C Documents

Documents which establish employment authorization (must be used with a document from List B):

  • Social Security Account Number card other than one that species on the face that the issuance of the card does not authorize employment in the U.S.
  • Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of Stae (Form FS-545)
  • Certification of Report of Birth issued by the Department of State (Form DS-1350)
  • Original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by a State, county, municipal authority, or territory of the U.S. bearing an official seal
  • Native American tribal document
  • U.S. Citizen ID card (Form I-197)
  • Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the U.S. (Form I-179)
  • Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security

More on Documents for I-9 Forms

  • All documents used to verify employee work eligibility must be originals. Copies of documents are not acceptable. If you are unsure if a document is an original, look for a watermark or seal.
  • You may make copies of employee documents, but you must keep them in a safe place, to protect employee privacy, and you must make copies of documents for all employees, not just for some.
  • You may not require certain documents or express a preference for certain documents. All documents in each list are equally acceptable.

    How to Get I-9 Forms

    Before you hire your first employee, be sure you have a supply of I-9 forms on hand. You can use several versions of the form: 

    • The USCIS has a desktop widget that allows you to complete the I-9 form from your computer's desktop. 
    • You can use a paper version of the I-9 form. This version is not fillable and must be printed out. 
    • You may be able to find a paper version of the I-9 form at an office supply store.