Can an I-9 form be completed electronically? Not only is it possible for an I-9 form to be completed electronically, it is actually the preferred method for this critical new hire form. Job candidates cannot be asked to fill out this form as part of the application process, in order to reduce the risk of discrimination in hiring. However, the law requires that Section 1 of this form be completed no later than their first day of employment (defined as the first day they work for pay). This leaves a narrow window for the form to be completed in compliance with the law.
I-9s Must Be Completed Correctly
Although the I-9 is not highly complex, it is not uncommon for new hires to make errors when completing the form. A fillable electronic form can reduce errors with simple rules, such as not allowing the new hire to select multiple boxes when they should select just one. Or, it may enforce the entry of “N/A” in fields such as “Other Names Used” instead of allowing the new hire to leave the space blank. Since the I-9 has been updated to include the employee’s email address, virtual form completion is even more important. How often has HR struggled to decipher an illegible email address?
Electronic Signatures Are Easy to Capture
E-signatures are what make paperless onboarding possible. The USCIS does accept e-signatures, but the form posted to the government website does not contain this function. This means employers who want to go paperless with their onboarding must recreate the form with this field included, or use an onboarding solution that has this option embedded. Since there are strict storage and compliance requirements for electronic signatures, it’s usually simplest to use a SaaS solution that has this feature built in.
Workflow Is Enhanced with Virtual Forms
With I-9 forms completed electronically, there’s no delay in forwarding the form and accompanying documents to the relevant manager for approval. Since the employer is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all information on this form is complete and accurate, ensuring a timely review by the appropriate representative is essential.
Seamless Integration to the DHS E-Verify System
This is probably the most important benefit of completing I-9s electronically. E-Verify is an online system that checks new hires against DHS, SSA, and DOS records to confirm authorization for workers in the U.S. For exact matches, verification is provided right away. If there is a mismatch, this may trigger a tentative non-confirmation for further investigation, making it easy for employers to catch potential problems early. It is possible to use this process by keying information directly into the system. However, automating this process by integrating the onboarding system with E-Verify saves time and is more accurate.
Can an I-9 Form Be Completed Electronically?
If you are asking yourself can an I-9 form be completed electronically, we can help you. Our I-9 form completion and electronic onboarding solution can help you comply with DHS rules and avoid penalties. To learn how Efficient Forms can make I-9s less of a headache, contact us today.