Employees must provide documentation to their employers to show their identity and authorization to work, which is achieved using USCIS Form I-9. Here’s some more info about Form I-9, how to complete it in compliance, and how employers must handle the process as well.
How do I complete Form I-9 in compliance with the rules?
According to USCIS Form I-9 instructions, the following applies to foreign nationals working in the United States under authorization from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including those admitted under TN Visa status:
An alien authorized to work – An individual who is not a citizen or national of the United States, or a lawful resident but is authorized to work in the United States. Aliens authorized to work must enter one of the following to complete section 1:
- Alien Registration Number (A-Number)/USCIS Number; or
- Form I-94 Admission Number; or
- Foreign Passport Number and the Country of Issuance.
So a foreign national working in the United States subject to the USMCA and TN Visa status may present the following as proof of authorization to work in the United States:
- List B Documents. A valid foreign passport.
- List C Document. Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), such as Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
A document is acceptable as long as it reasonably appears to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting it. List A documents do not apply to TN Visa holders as they all imply permanent resident status, so you will need a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C. (See the complete list of Form I-9 Acceptable Documents.)
An employer cannot specify which document(s) you may present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents, and they are not permitted to ask you to present the document from which you supplied this information.
As an employer, how do I enter the Form I-9 documents presented by my employee?
The employer cannot specify which document(s) an employee may present from the lists. If the employer discriminates in the Form I-9 process based on an individual’s citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin, they may be in violation of the law and subject to sanctions such as civil penalties, and be required to pay back-pay to discrimination victims.
Do I need a Social Security number (SSN) to meet Form I-9 compliance?
An SSN is NOT required for a foreign national to meet Form I-9 compliance requirements to start working in the United States. Furthermore, an employer cannot decide which documents an employee may present to meet Form I-9 compliance requirements. Any employer that demands an SSN prior to the commencement of employment of a foreign national who presents both a valid “List B Document” and a valid “List C Document” may be in violation of the law for discrimination based on an individual’s citizenship status, immigration status, or national origin.
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