What to Do When Hiring Someone Without an Address

Have you ever hired someone who does not have a physical address? How did you handle the situation? What questions did it raise? How did you answer them?

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Reasons a New Employee May Not Have a Home Address

There are several reasons a jobseeker may not have a current home address. Here are a few examples:

  1. This person may be in transit and looking for a new home in a new city. He or she could be staying with friends or family or at a short-term lodging option and therefore doesn’t want to provide that address.
  2. Some rural locations do not have a street address system, so the residents of those areas don’t have an address. Instead, mail is delivered to a centralized mailbox setup or postal office.
  3. Someone who is currently homeless likely won’t have an address to provide, regardless of whether he or she is staying at a shelter.
  4. In some cases, an individual may have a home address but be reluctant to provide it.

What to Do When Hiring Someone Without an Address

For each of the items above, here are options for address fields on hiring forms:

  1. See if an individual with temporary accommodations has or can create a P.O. Box to use as a mailing address and to receive mail until he or she is permanently settled. P.O. boxes can now be entered as a new employee’s address on the I-9 form.
  2. If a new employee has a residence but no street address, the person’s location will typically have a P.O. Box, which, as mentioned above, is acceptable to use on the I-9 form and should be sufficient for employment purposes. If the person doesn’t have a mailing option like this, the I-9 form allows for a description of the residence location. Here’s info from the I-9 instructions:

If your residence does not have a physical address, enter a description of the location of your residence, such as “3 miles southwest of Anytown post office near water tower.”[i]

  1. For someone who is homeless, there are several options. If the person is staying in a shelter, he or she should communicate with the shelter to determine if there are mailing options. If not, he or she could also inquire about setting up a P.O. Box at the nearest post office. Many post offices also have a general delivery option where mail can be sent. Failing those options, the I-9 form does allow a description of the location where someone is staying, as noted in the item above.
  2. Those who are reluctant to disclose their address can also use a P.O. Box so they can keep their address private.

What has your experience been when hiring someone without a permanent address?


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