I-9 Common Errors

The I-9 Form must be completed for all employees within three days of beginning employment at Washington University (or any employer.) If an I-9 is not completed correctly or completely, the University could be subject to fines and/or other penalties. In addition, job approval and subsequent paycheck issuance are delayed

Fortunately, the electronic I-9 is now able to prevent some errors from occurring; however, there are still some common errors made on foreign national I-9s specifically. Review the information below to ensure these errors are not present on an I-9 before submitting.

Please note: The OISS is not able to correct I-9 errors. If an I-9 is sent to the OISS and requires corrections by either the employee or department payroll representative, the person who made the error or omission must make the correction, so it will be returned.

Section 1 – Employee Information and Verification

“I attest, under penalty of perjury, that I am (check one of the following):”

  • Non-citizen national is erroneously selected
    • U.S. non-citizen nationals are persons who owe permanent allegiance to the U.S., which include those born in American Samoa, including Swains Islands. Foreign nationals in a non-immigrant status (like F, J or H) are not included in this category.
  • If the employee is a permanent resident, USCIS# blank
    • This number can be found on the Permanent Resident card.
    • Note the USCIS# used to be called the Alien, or A, #
  • The “alien authorized to work until” date is incorrect or blank
    • F-1 students = I-20 end date
    • J-1 students = end date on Work Authorization Letter
    • J-1 scholars = DS-2019 end date
    • H-1B = I-797 Approval Notice end date
    • Anyone with a work authorization card = the expiration date of the card (includes, but not limited to F-1 OPT, J-2, H-4 and Pending Permanent Residents)
  • The Alien Registration Number/USCIS Number
    • The appropriate number is the USCIS# on the Employment Authorization Card or the A# on the I-797 Approval Notice
    • If this number is provided, the I-94/Passport info should be blank. Conversely, if the I-94/Passport info is provided, the USCIS number should be blank.

Section 2 – Employer Review and Verification

List A Errors
  • Incorrect option selected for passport
    • Make sure to choose “Foreign psprt w/ unexpired I-94”. Other passport options only apply to employees from specific countries:
      • FSM = Federated States of Micronesia
      • RMI = Republic of Marshall Islands
  • Not enough supporting documents listed for passport
    • If the passport is used, the I-94 must also be listed as document #2 (see #5 under List A on the List of Acceptable Documents).
      • If the I-94 says “D/S”, which means “Duration of Status,” a third document is needed to provide the work authorization end date. In these instances, both document numbers must be listed and the expiration date should be the same as used in Section 1.
  • The entry visa listed as a document.
    • The entry visa is unrelated to work authorization, is not on the List of Acceptable Documents, and should not be used on the I-9 at all.
  • Dates are listed incorrectly.
    • Remember that many countries list the day before the month. When recording dates, ensure they are in mm/dd format.
List C Errors
  • A Social Security card with the following verbiage is listed.
    • Not Valid for Employment
    • Valid for Work Only With INS Authorization
    • Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization
  • These Social Security cards are not on the List of Acceptable Documents, and should not be used on the I-9 at all. Only a clean card with nothing but name and number can be used.

Questions about completing a foreign national I-9 may be directed to the OISS Payroll Administrator at oiss@wustl.edu or 935-9612.