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Employee I-9 Tips and Warning

Every person, regardless of citizenship or visa status, must complete Section 1 of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, when accepting employment in the United States. In addition to basic biographic information, the form poses the following question, which you, as the prospective employee, must answer:

I attest under penalty of perjury, that I am (check one):

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A noncitizen national of the United States
  • A lawful permanent resident
  • An alien authorized to work until…

WARNING: If you are not a United States Citizen, do not check that you are a United States Citizen on Form I-9 under any circumstance. Doing so is considered a false claim to citizenship under the Immigration & Nationality laws and there is no waiver for this offense. This means if the Department of Homeland Security finds out you made a false claim to U.S. citizenship, either by you applying for an immigration benefit, or by auditing the I-9's of your current or former employers, you could be placed in removal proceedings with no prospect of relief. In other words, there is no forgiveness or waiver available for a false claim to U.S. citizenship in the I-9 context.

TIP: Form I-9 solicits a prospective employee's social security number, email, and telephone number. Did you know that you are not required to disclose this information on Form I-9? I suggest you don't, unless you can think of a reason as to why the Department of Homeland Security should be privy to your phone number and email.