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 employment in the United States.

Who needs to complete a Form I-9?

Any individual hired for employment in the United States is required to complete a Form I-9. If an individual is paid through SMU payroll, then he/she needs 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 Form I-9 need to be completed?

Newly hired employees must complete and sign Section 1 of the I-9 no later than the first day of employment.  Section 1 should never be completed before the acceptance of a job offer.

How do I complete the Form I-9?

A Form I-9 must be completed in person in SMU’s Human Resources office.   New employees must provide original, unexpired documents to verify their identity and work authorization (see below).

What documents do I 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 at:

Within three business days of starting work for pay, you must present to the Human Resources office documentation that establishes your identity and employment authorization.  Each document must be an unexpired, original document (no photocopies except for certified copies of birth certificates).

For international students: Human Resources also requires that you bring your On-Campus Work Eligibility Form with you when completing the I-9 in order to confirm I-9 compliance with your supervisor.  Contact the International Student & Scholar Services office for more information on the On-Campus Work Eligibility Form.

How often does the Form I-9 need to be completed?

The Form 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.  Individuals with a break in service may need to complete a new I-9 upon rehire.

International students and other non-citizen employees need to regularly reverify their I-9 status to show that their work eligibility documents are current.  Whenever a new work eligibility document is received (for example, a new I-20), please bring that document to the Human Resources office to update your I-9.

If you have any questions about the I-9 or your I-9 status, please call the Human Resources office’s main line at 214-768-3311 or email us at

About Mary Stall

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