When to Use Section 3 of the I-9 Form

When you hire a new employee, it’s usually second nature to complete the I-9 process. The I-9 (employment eligibility) process is fairly straightforward, and employers must complete it in a timely manner. Employees complete Section 1 either before they start or on the day they begin employment, and the employer reviews the documents they provide (which must be documents specified in the lists on the form) and uses those to complete Section 2—no later than 3 business days after the employees start work. But what about Section 3?

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Unlike the first two sections, Section 3 of the I-9 form is not required immediately when hiring a new employee but rather is used only when necessary, such as when someone has a work authorization with an expiry date attached to it. In those cases, the employer will need to reverify that the individual has employment eligibility after the expiry date. In short, the employer uses this form to confirm that eligibility has been renewed or that some other means of employment eligibility has been secured.

Just as when a new employee is brought on board, the employer still cannot require specific documents to be presented by the employee, as long as the documents presented are in compliance with those listed on the form itself.

Other Uses for Section 3

Are there other times Section 3 could be used? For example, what needs to happen when you bring back an employee who previously completed the employment eligibility process?

In that case, the same I-9 form can be used, and Section 3 should be completed if the following criteria are met:

  • The person was rehired within 3 years of the date you completed the original I-9.
  • The person’s information from the original I-9 form is still accurate.

In this scenario, the employer can use Section 3 to confirm the employee remains eligible for employment and note the new date of hire. Note: It’s also always acceptable to complete a new I-9 for a rehire—it’s just not required when Section 3 can be used as noted above.

If the I-9 form has changed in the intervening time between when the employee was originally hired and completed the I-9 and the time when the employer completed Section 3, then Section 3 of the latest version should be used. In this case, complete Section 3 on the new form, and attach it to the original.

If it’s been more than 3 years since the rehired employee’s original I-9 was completed, then a new I-9 form should be used and fully completed again. Or, if the employee has been rehired before and the original Section 3 was already used at that time, then a new I-9 form would also be needed.

Section 3 can also be used to update employee information, such as when an employee has legally changed his or her name. This is not required of the employer but is an accepted use for Section 3.