Electronic vs. Paper I-9 Forms

Question:

Can I maintain my I-9 Forms electronically or do I need to keep a paper copy?

Answer:

Yes – the documents can be stored either way the employer prefers.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does have basic requirements, however, if you wish to store your documents electronically.  The USCIS provides the following guidelines for electronic storage of the documents:

  • Include controls to ensure the integrity, accuracy and reliability of the electronic generation storage system.
  • Include controls to detect and prevent the unauthorized or accidental creation of, addition to, alteration of, deletion of or deterioration of an electronically completed stored Form I-9, including the electronic signature, if used.
  • Include controls to ensure an audit trail so that any alteration or change to the form since its creation is electronically stored and can be accessed by an appropriate government agency inspecting the forms.
  • Include an inspection and quality assurance program that regularly evaluates the electronic generation or storage system, and includes periodic checks of electronically stored Form I-9, including the electronic signature, if used.
  • Include a detailed index of all data so that any particular record can be accessed immediately.
  • Produce a high degree of legibility and readability when displayed on a video display terminal or reproduced on paper.

The record retention requirements for storage do not change based on how the documents are stored – they stay the same.

Be sure you are using the newest I-9 effective January 22, 2017.

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