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Form I-9 Retention Requirements

Form I-9 Retention Requirements

In the current era of increased focus on immigration, Form I-9 audits have been on the rise. From 2017 to 2018, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) reported a dramatic increase in worksite investigations, I-9 audits, and criminal and administrative worksite-related arrests. Here are the numbers:

  • Worksite investigations increased 305%
  • I-9 audits increased 340%
  • Criminal worksite-related arrests increased 460%
  • Administrative worksite-related arrests increased 787%

With the increase in I-9 audits, one area employers can focus on is compliant I-9 retention. Employers are required to have a completed Form I-9 on file for each employee currently on payroll, and for a period after employment ends.

Most HR Managers understand that getting rid of an I-9 - or any other government form - a single day too early can result in a violation. Some employers believe there is an across the board, magic formula that will keep them safe without any effort. For example, they hold on to all government forms for 3 years, 7 years, or even forever. But this approach is also incorrect. Retaining a Form I-9 for even a single day too long can also result in a violation in case of an audit.

When it comes to I-9 retention it's important to hit the sweet spot to comply with USCIS regulations. Here's the correct formula:

1. The date the employee began working for pay

A. Add three years to the date from 1

2. The date the employee was terminated

B. Add one year to the date from 2

3. Which date is later, A or B?

C. Enter the later date

The correct retention date is the date determined in line C.

One way to properly manage your organization's I-9 retention is to use an electronic solution. HIREtech's I-9 Management solution automatically retains I-9s according to the USCIS retention formula and deletes them when they're no longer needed. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about I-9 retention or to schedule a personal demo of the I-9 Management platform.

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