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I-9 Form Retention
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A question that often comes up in the HR compliance area is how long an employee's completed I-9 form should be kept.


USCIS.gov states that Form I-9 "should be retained for three (3) years after the date of hire, or one (1)
year after the date employment ends-whichever is later.” But what does this mean? To many employers,
this is confusing. In simple terms, it means:

  • A current employee should always have an I-9 on file.
  • Only after the employee has terminated should employers begin to calculate the retention requirements.

Al employers are required to comply with I-9 requirements, including record retention.


Storage of Form I-9s
Form I-9s should be maintained separately from employee personnel files, stored on paper or electronically.. Consider a method that separates current employee forms from terminated employee forms, such as. 

  • A CURRENT binder that contains current employee Form I-9s, maintained alphabetically by last name so that the forms can be easily audited.
  • A TERMINATED binder that contains terminated employee Form I-9s. When an employee is
    terminated, pull his or her Form I-9 from the current employee section and file in the terminated I-9

Determine Retention Requirements for Terminated Employees
Once an employee no longer works for the employer, an employer must determine how much longer to
keep the employee’s I-9.

To calculate how long to keep the form, here is a formula from USCIS:

  1. Date the employee began work for pay: ___________________
    A. Add 3 years to the the date on line 1:___________________

  2. Date employment was terminated: ___________________
    B. Add 1 year to the date on line 2:___________________

  3. Which date is later? A or B? ___________________
    C. Enter the later date. __________________

  4.  Retain Form I-9 until the date on Line C

For complete information, see the USCIS website:








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