As employers, churches must complete an Employment Eligibility Verification form, better known as Form I-9, for each new employee. Form I-9 is not an IRS form and is not filed with any government agency. However, it is important that churches understand Form I-9 requirements. Employers that violate the rules may face fines depending on the nature of the violation. Employers will find Form I-9 and related information at uscis.gov, the website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The law requires employers to do the following five things:
1. Have all new employees complete the top half of Form I-9 on or before the date they start work.
2. Check original documents establishing every new employee's identity and eligibility to work. These documents ordinarily will be an original state driver's license plus either an original social security number card or an original or certified birth certificate. Employees must furnish the required documentation within three business days of starting work. An employee unable to produce the required documentation within three days may produce a receipt showing that he or she has applied for the required documents. The employee may then produce the documents within 21 days of starting work.
3. Complete the bottom half of Form I-9, by certifying that you inspected the original documents verifying the employee's identity and eligibility to work (discussed in the preceding paragraph).
4. Retain every Form I-9 for at least three years. If you employ a person for more than three years, you must retain the form until one year after the person leaves your employment.