I-9 verification documents are an essential part of verifying whether an employee is eligible to work in the United States. Prior to hiring an employee, the employer must ensure that they collect documents that demonstrate eligibility to work in the U.S. Yet there is always a possibility that the I-9 verification documents are fraudulent. Therefore, it’s critical that companies perform verification checks. Here, we’ll explore some ways technology can help support anti-fraud efforts.
What I-9 Verification Documents Are Required?
According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), employers must verify that all hired employees submit I-9 verification documents. As of October 2004, I-9 documents can also be submitted electronically, promoting greater efficiency. Regardless of whether they are submitted online or in-person, these are the requirements:
1. A form of ID that demonstrates identity and employment eligibility. The following documents are recognized for this purpose:
- An unexpired U.S. Passport
- A U.S. Passport Card
- A green card or Alien Registration Receipt Card with photograph
- An unexpired Temporary Resident Card
- An unexpired foreign passport with an I-551 stamp, or with Form I-94 (For the certain alien who is authorized to work with restrictions. The person should also attach the documents which indicate an unexpired employment authorization.)
- An unexpired Employment Authorization Document issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security that includes a photograph (Form I-766)
- An unexpired Employment Authorization Card
2. A document that demonstrates identity, including the following:
- Driver’s license or identification card issued by a U.S. state or outlying possession of the U.S. provided it contains a photograph or identifying information
- Federal or state identification card provided it contains a photograph or identifying information
- School identification card with photograph
- U.S. Armed Services identification card or draft record
- Voter Registration Card
- U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
- Native American tribal document
- Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
- Trusted traveler documentation
For individuals under the age of eighteen, the following documents may be used to establish identity:
- School record or report card;
- Clinic, doctor or hospital record or
- Daycare or nursery school record.
3. A document that demonstrates employment eligibility:
- A U.S. Social Security card issued by the Social Security Administration unless it indicates one of the following:
NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT (generally issued to non-immigrant aliens unauthorized to work)
VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION
VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION,
- A birth certificate issued by the U.S. State Department (Form FS-545 or Form DS-1350)
- Original or certified copy of a birth certificate from the U.S. or an outlying possession of the U.S., bearing an official seal,
- A Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N-561)
- A Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N-570)
- Native American tribal document
- U.S. Citizen ID Card (Form I-197)
- An ID Card for the use of a Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179)
- An unexpired employment authorization card issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security (other than those included on List A)
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240)
By collecting these three I-9 verification documents, employers can ensure their new hire is eligible to work legally in the US. However, this assumes that the employee has no intent to deceive. In the next section, we will speak about how fraudulent I-9 documents can get through and ultimately hurt the employer.
The Importance of Catching Fraudulent I-9 Verification Documents
Fraudulent I-9 verification documents are on the rise. Fabricating documents and ID has become easier in recent years thanks to more sophisticated forgery methods. Advanced document printers can create convincing fake IDs. Synthetic identity fraud, which involves combining identifying information from a real person with fake documents, is also more prevalent and easier to pull off than traditional fraud.
Companies pay the price for accidentally hiring people with fake I-9 documents and application information. I-9 auditors can catch errors, resulting in fines for each fraudulent piece of information or document. Under certain circumstances, the employer can even face a prison sentence for compliance lapses.
Clearly, catching fraudulent I-9 verification documents is of utmost importance. Companies’ reputation and financial standing are at stake. At the same time, the last thing companies want is to implement compliance practices that slow down their operations, and take up valuable employer and employee time. The possibility of unscrupulous characters shouldn’t tarnish the employee onboarding experience for everyone else.
Fortunately, companies needn’t be forced to choose between compliance and efficiency. With the right eSignature and document verification software in place, companies can achieve both.
How Digital Document Verification Works
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are used to identify the authenticity of I-9 verification documents. Here’s how it works:
- The employee receives a text message which opens a secure mobile collaboration room.
- The employer requests the required I-9 documents and forms.
- The employee snaps and submits a photo of the documents using their cellphone camera.
- The algorithm performs a series of validation checks.
Document verification includes some of the following verification checks:
- Face and orientation detection
- Edge detection and cropping
- Front to back data correlation
- Cross checks on thousands of global IDs
- Colorspace analysis
- Headshot integrity
- Selfie to ID photo match
- Selfie liveness detection
The accuracy rates are extremely high thanks to the sheer number of variables that are checked during the document collection process.
How Digital ID Verification Works
Remember, companies are also required to collect employee ID as part of the I-9 verification process. Just like document verification, ID verification can be completed easily and accurately via mobile phone.
With mobile ID verification, companies request that employees send them a photo ID along with a real-time selfie, and compare the two. Then information in the ID is automatically cross-referenced with public databases.
Mobile ID verification is fully electronic, and doesn’t require employees’ physical presence. It authenticates their identity through entirely automated, remote processes. Rather than rely on human judgment, which introduces the possibility of error, it relies on advanced AI technology to do all the validation. Here’s how it works:
- The employer sends the employee a text message containing a link that opens to a fully secure mobile session.
- The employee uploads a picture of their ID as well as a real-time selfie taken from their smartphone camera.
- The employee’s selfie and photo ID are automatically scanned for a match.
Fraud-Proof Employees’ I-9 Verification Documents
Lightico’s Digital Completion platform enables employees to upload I-9 verification documents, fill out mobile-optimized I-9 forms, and provide an eSignature all from the same online session. The mobile-first platform ensures employers and employees don’t lose valuable time during the onboarding process — all while keep fraud away.