Keeping I-9 Forms


After hearing you speak about appropriate recordkeeping, I’m taking your advice and purging some of my employment records. How long should I keep an I-9 form?


An employer must keep the original Form I-9 for all current employees for as long as they are employed. After an employee terminates employment the original Form I-9 must be on file for EITHER: three (3) years after the date of hire or one (1) year after employment is terminated – WHICHEVER IS LATER. So, for example, if an employee is terminated after only 6 weeks on the job, their Form I-9 must be kept for three years after the hire date. If an employee terminates after 5 years of employment, their Form I-9 must be kept for one year after the date of termination.

Here’s an easy way to calculate the date of retention:

  • Date A: Add 3 years to the date of hire
  • Date B: Add 1 year to the date of termination

Using the above calculations, use the later of the two dates as the retention date.

Recordkeeping is full of “if this, then that” situations. You will often hear us say “it depends” when asking about personnel files and recordkeeping. Keep the guesswork out of keeping your files in order and up-to-date. Strategic HR, inc. has a handy desktop reference ready to guide you on the documents you can keep together in an employee file and how long you need to keep them. Visit our HR Store to request a copy of our Recordkeeping reference.