The Form I-9 Overview

The Form I-9 can be a confusing requirement, so we want to provide some clarity on key objectives and expectations.

What is the Form I-9?

The Form I-9 (also known as an “I-9”) is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals hired for work in the United States.

Who needs to complete an I-9?

Any individual hired for work in the United States. If an individual is paid through SMU payroll, then they need to have a valid I-9 on file. This includes U.S. citizens and non-citizens as well as individuals working remotely for SMU.

When does the I-9 need to be completed?

There are 2 parts to the Form I-9, and they have different deadlines. The employee needs to complete Section 1 by the end of your first day of employment.  Section 2 is completed with an HR Representative no later than 3 days after you’ve started employment. Additionally, an I-9 should not be completed before an offer of employment has been made and accepted.

How do you complete the Form?

A Form I-9 must be completed, in person, at the SMU HR Office, and new employees must provide documents to verify their identity and work authorization (more on these below). These documents must be original, no copies or scanned images, and they cannot be expired.

What documents do you need to bring?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a list of documents that can be used to complete the I-9, and examples can be found here: For International Students, HR also requires that the student bring their On-Campus Work Eligibility Form when they complete their I-9, so we can confirm for their supervisors that they’re I-9 compliant.  Contact the International Student Scholar Services office for more information on the On-Campus Work Eligibility Form.

How often does it need to be completed?

An I-9 needs to be completed at the start of employment and after a break in service where an individual was not actively employed by SMU.  Employees with a break is service may need to complete a new I-9.   International Students and other non-citizen employees need to regularly reverify their I-9 status to show that their work eligibility documents are always current.  Whenever they receive a new work eligibility document (for example, a new I-20), they need to come to the HR office and update their I-9.

If a manager or employee has any questions about the I-9 or their I-9 status, you should  call the HR main line at 214-768-3311 or email us at

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