Recognizing Valid Identification Documents

We recently published an article in the Help Desk to help you recognize the most obvious fraudulent identification documents. Sometimes, however, a new hire will present a valid document that just doesn’t look like anything you’ve seen before.

Because you are prohibited by law from rejecting any valid ID from the list of acceptable documents (found in the last page of the Form I-9 instructions), you can minimize potential liability by familiarizing yourself with the various documents that a new hire may present.

I-9 Central, the USCIS’ online guide to everything related to Form I-9, includes a description of common documents.

Additional Guidance

You may not tell new hires which ID documents they must provide except that they must be on the list of acceptable documents.

  • In addition, documents from List B must bear a photograph;

You may not require the new hire to provide different documents when a valid document(s) from the list of acceptable documents has been presented.

  • You can reject a document that is 1) not on the list of acceptable documents; 2) if a List B document, without a photo; 3) a reasonably obvious fraudulent document; 4) not related to the new hire; or 5) an expired document.

You may not accept and record more documentation than the minimum that is required to complete Form I-9.

  • You should accept one document from List A or one from List B and one from List C, and no more! Accepting or requiring more than the minimum documentation can open your company to a claim of discrimination. (Note: Some List A documents are a combination of two or more; for example, a foreign passport and Form I-94.)

If you have additional questions about completing Form I-9, we strongly encourage you to contact us or consult the Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9 (M-274), linked from the Quick Start Guide.