Forms of Identification for Employment

Written by sara melone | 13/05/2017
Forms of Identification for Employment
The identity of an employee must be verified by the employer at the time employment begins. (finger print image by bilderbox from

Federal laws of the United States require that employers ask all new employees to complete Form I-9. This form is used to verify that an individual is authorised to work in the United States. An employer who fails to verify an employee's identification and work authorisation can face criminal prosecution and/or fines. When an individual is hired to work for a company in the U.S., proof of identification and authorisation to work in the country can be verified through several documents.

Establishing Identity

Forms of Identification for Employment
A driver's license or military card can suffice to establish employee identity. (your business card image by Keith Frith from

Typically when an employee or employer fills out an I-9 for a new hire, at least two forms of identification must be produced by the employee for the employer to verify and accurately identify the employee's identification and authorisation to work in the U.S. The two forms of identification must include one form of ID suitable to establish identity along with one form of ID to establish employment authorisation. For individuals over the age of 18, identity can be established through the use of a voter registration card; U.S. military card or draft record; or a photo identification card such as a school ID; driver's license or federal, state or local government-issued ID card. Individuals under the age of 18 can establish identity through the use of school or doctor's records.

Establishing Work Authorization

Forms of Identification for Employment
A U.S. birth certificate or report of birth abroad are acceptable as proof of work authorisation. (birth marriage and death image by Warren Millar from

A new employee is required to establish proof of authorisation to work in the United States regardless of whether the individual's country of birth was the U.S. The most common form of verification for U.S. employment authorisation is a Social Security card that includes the individual's Social Security account number and does not indicate anywhere on the face of the card that the issuance of the card does not authorise employment. Citizens may also provide a Form FS-545 certifying birth abroad, a Form DS-1350 certification of birth report, a certified birth certificate or Native American tribal documents in addition to a U.S. Citizen ID card or Resident Citizen ID card. A non-citizen should be able to provide employment authorisation forms issued by the Department of Homeland Security.

Establishing Both

Forms of Identification for Employment
A foreign passport with an I-551 stamp or Form I-94A may be acceptable. (passport image by Gemma Williams from

Instead of supplying one document to verify identity and another for work authorisation, an individual may submit a document that establishes both. These alternative documents include a U.S. passport or passport card; a permanent resident card or alien registration receipt card (Form I-551); a foreign passport with an I-551 stamp, Form I-94 or Form I-94A; or employment authorisation documents displaying a photo ID (Form I-766).

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