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Forms of Identification for Employment

Updated February 21, 2017

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

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

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

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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About the Author

Sara Melone is a mother of three and a graduate of UNH. With prior careers in insurance and finance, photography, as well as certifications in fitness and nutrition, Melone draws directly from past experience and varying interests. She contributes with equal passion to birth journals, investment blogs, and self-help websites.