Can An I-9 Form Be Completed Electronically?

MAY 15, 2021

Yes! In fact, electronic I-9’s are the preferred method for this critical new hire form. Let’s look at the question Can an I-9 Form Be Completed Electronically and why going electronic just makes good compliance sense.

A Paper Process is Risky & Here’s Why:

1. Form I-9 must be completed within three paid working days of the employees start date.
2. There are 15 pages of instructions on how to complete Form I-9, making it a very complex form!
3. There are 69 pages in the I-9 Handbook for Employers M-274 – wow.
4. The Form must be fully completed, legible, and accurate – or there is a risk of technical and procedural violations in the case of an audit.


The Impact of Paper for Employers:

  • Using a manual process causes a 90% probability of at least one error on every Form I-9.
  • Paper I-9’s and verification documents must be stored securely without the risk of data getting into unauthorized hands.
  • Multi-location employers, such as restaurants, struggle to keep a secure and centralized I-9 process.
  • When audit time comes, producing and indexing paper I-9’s for the auditor becomes tedious with extremely tight timelines.


Now, let’s look at why an Electronic I-9 Processes is superior:

When you’re looking for an electronic I-9 provider, be sure they can handle these key factors to keep you in compliance –

  • All information should be collected during onboarding and cannot be “skipped” to eliminate the nasty notion of incorrect or incomplete I-9’s.
  • New hires need to be able to attest to their citizenship and be prepared with which documents they will bring for employment verification on their first day.
  • If in a remote work situation, the manager should be able to easily select any COVID restrictions (if applicable) and have the proper wording added to the I-9 according to DHS guidelines.
  • If documents need to be stored, the system needs to make it easy to attach copies of documents collected during employer the section, Part II and store securely.
  • If you are required to use E-Verify, an integration is critical to submit and manage new cases or re-verifications without leaving the system.
  • Both the employee and the employer representative completing Part II should electronically sign the I-9 – complete with date and time stamp to eliminate any compliance risk.
  • If an I-9 solution can handle all of these critical items, you will have peace of mind knowing your electronic I-9 process can be compliant!

Good news! Efficient Hire can take care of your electronic I-9 process, visit our Onboarding & I-9 Compliance page for more info, if you like.


What our customers are saying –

“It was great to call you up, give you the list of data the ICE auditor requested and have results in my hands within 24 hours. The Agent told me he really appreciated the electronic format with Efficient Hire, since it was easy for him to get the information he needed.

We were able to provide him with the exact date range of Forms he requested; which led to no questions about the start dates, e-Signature dates or any of the information.” Large McDonald’s Franchisee.


If you’re seeking more detail about the legality of the electronic signature on Form I-9, here’s a little more detail:

10.3.2 Electronic Signature of Form I-9 [Page 56 of the Handbook for Employers M-274]

If you complete Form I-9 electronically using an electronic signature, your system for capturing electronic signatures must allow signatories to acknowledge that they read the attestation and attach the electronic signature to an electronically completed Form I-9. The system must also:

– Affix the electronic signature at the time of the transaction;

– Create and preserve a record verifying the identity of the person producing the signature; and

– Upon request of the employee, provide a printed confirmation of the transaction to the person providing the signature.

Employers who complete Form I-9 electronically must attest to the required information in Section 2 of Form I-9. The system used to capture the electronic signature should include a method to acknowledge that the attestation to be signed has been read by the signatory.


About the Efficient Hire Electronic Signature:

Efficient Hire uses a proprietary process for employees and the employer/representative to e-Sign onboarding and Form I-9 electronically; complying with all government requirements.

We have successfully defended our e-Signature process multiple times since 2009, including through several I-9 audits, and have never had the validity and security of our e-Signature process over-turned. To date, no penalties have been assessed to customers using our I-9 and e-Signature process.

In the last year, specifically, we have defended the e-Signature relating to Arbitration Agreements [including CA] e-Signed by an employee during onboarding; including class action suits against employers and multiple court-related documents for motions to compel binding arbitration, which have all upheld in the employers’ defense.

As a busy restaurant operator, security firm, staffing agency, or any other industry that experiences high turnover, you are probably thinking about your HR compliance. Get in touch – we’re here to help!

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