As an employer, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations surrounding employment verification documents and how they can affect your business. Employment verification documents are essential for any business to remain compliant, yet they can be complex. 

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the different types of documents needed, how to obtain them, and how they must be stored. We also explained the advantages and disadvantages of using an electronic system for verification.

What Are Employment Verification Documents?

Employment verification documents are any type of document or form that can demonstrate an individual's eligibility for employment. 

Generally, these types of documents provide proof of legal work authorization, such as a Social Security card, a driver's license, or other government-issued photo identification. 

In the United States, employers must request certain documents from employees to comply with federal immigration laws.

Employers need to understand that not all documents obtained from their employees will provide full compliance with federal employment verification requirements. 

Depending on the type of document provided by the employee, an employer may be required to verify additional information—such as an employee’s Social Security number—to remain compliant.

Most employers use I-9 forms to verify employment eligibility and complete the necessary verification process. The I-9 form requires an employee to present valid identification documents, such as a driver’s license or passport, to prove their identity and legal right to work in the United States. 

This process allows employers to ensure their compliance with U.S. immigration laws while also helping them identify and eliminate fraudulent applicants from their hiring process.

List of Critical Documents for Compliance


When it comes to meeting the standards of employment verification documents, there are a few critical documents you must have in place:

1. Employment Verification Form 


Used to verify an employee’s identity, this form is often filled out in the employee's presence and signed by them as well as a company representative.

2. Income Verification Forms


These forms verify that an individual earns a specific amount of money while employed with your business. They contain information such as the employee’s name, address, salary, and length of employment.

3. W-4 Form

As a way to ensure tax compliance, the W-4 form determines how much income tax should be withheld from an employee’s paycheck and allows you to report information on the worker to the IRS.

4. I-9 Form


This form is used to confirm a new hire's identity and authorize them for employment within the United States. This form requires employees to submit documentation that verifies their identity and work eligibility such as Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses or passport numbers, or other appropriate documents as listed on the I-9 form instructions page.

5. Tax Credits Employer Forms


Employers need all applicable forms that enable their workers to claim applicable credits for certain types of wages earned such as wages for tips received or unemployment wage credits, etc.

6. Applicable State Forms 


Depending on where the business is located, employers may also be responsible for completing state forms such as those related to state withholding taxes or state benefits programs like unemployment insurance or workers' compensation coverage forms.

Having all of these documents in order is critical in ensuring you stay compliant with relevant tax laws and regulations so take


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Differences between List A and List B of employment verification documents


Employers must use two distinct sets of documents when verifying employee identity and work authorization: List A and List B. Deciding which list to use requires careful consideration, but making the wrong choice could lead to violations of federal immigration regulations.

When verifying an employee's identity, employers must present a document from List A, the larger of the two lists. These documents prove both identity and employment eligibility. The most common documents used in this category are passports and driver's licenses.

List B documents prove an employee's identity but not work eligibility. Employers who choose to use this list must also administer additional forms that verify an individual's employment authorization. Common forms used in this process include Social Security cards and birth certificates.

Employers should always err on the side of caution when selecting documents from either list - choosing the wrong document could result in serious penalties, including fines imposed by the federal government or lawsuits initiated by individuals claiming discrimination or unfair treatment. 

To avoid any potential issues, it is best to consult an expert who can provide guidance on which documents to use for each situation.


What are the Benefits of Employment Verification Documents?

Employers who take the time to thoroughly review and verify all employment documents during the hiring process reap several benefits that protect both the company and its employees.

Below are just a few of the advantages gained by properly verifying employment documents:

a. Improved Accuracy in Records 


Having accurate records on hand makes it much easier to compare past performance reviews and screenings, mitigating potential risks associated with hiring candidates with misrepresented or falsified records.

b. Confirmation of Eligibility to Work 


Confirming that a potential employee is eligible to work by properly verifying documentation allows employers to avoid hefty penalties associated with hiring illegal workers or those with false documentation.

c. Openness in Communication 


By verifying all employment documents, employers can create an open channel of communication between them and their employees, which is key to establishing trust and cooperation in the workplace.

d. Reduced Turnover Rate


Having proper records and valid authorizations for all employees adds an extra layer of assurance for both employers and employees alike, resulting in better job satisfaction and a decreased turnover rate.

A comprehensive document verification process may seem daunting, but it is essential for any employer who wants to ensure full legal compliance as well as healthy working relationships with their team. 

With Youverify solutions, document verification can be simplified for you to ensure full legal compliance with applicable laws about employment verification documents.

Effects of Non-Compliance With Employment Verification Documents

When employers fail to comply with employment authorization documents (EADs) and other applicable government regulations, they risk costly penalties. 

For instance, an employer who does not request the required additional EAD forms or copies of identification documents may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $2,156 for each instance of non-compliance. 

Additionally, a willful failure to comply with EAD requirements carries a fine of up to $21,563 per violation. In some cases, employers may even face criminal charges. Depending on the circumstances, the employer can be held liable for fines ranging from $375 to $16,000 and possible imprisonment of up to six months.

Non-compliance can also result in suspension or debarment from participating in federal contracting or subcontracting activities for up to one year and can have an extremely negative impact on an employer’s reputation in the industry.

To avoid these hefty financial and legal ramifications, employers must make sure their hiring practices are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations concerning employment verification documents.

Best Practices for Employers Navigating Compliance With Employment Verification Documents

Employers are responsible for ensuring compliance with employment verification document standards, including the I-9 Form. 

To ensure your business complies with all regulations, there are several best practices to follow when dealing with these types of documents.

1. Train Your Staff

Make sure that your employees are aware of the requirements for completing and maintaining employment documents. Have a designated point person who is responsible for regularly updating personnel on the changing regulations. Also, provide periodic refresher courses so that all staff members have a consistent understanding of relevant regulations.

2. Accurate Record Keeping

Ensure that you maintain up-to-date records of new hires’ documents and copies of all paperwork related to current employees. Create an organized filing system to make information easy to access when needed. 

You should also stay informed on any changes in government laws and regulations related to employment verification document standards and make sure existing personnel files meet current guidelines.

3. Stay Organized

Staying organized is also key when dealing with employment verification documents. Make sure that you have a timeline for reviewing, approving, and filing all employee documents so that information does not get lost in the shuffle. 

Additionally, create checklists for each step in the process to ensure nothing slips through the cracks or is forgotten.

FAQs on Employment Verification Documents

Employment verification documents are a crucial element of any compliance program, helping employers confirm the identity, eligibility status, and associated payroll records of their employees. However, many employers are unsure of what these documents entail and how to accurately complete them.

To get a better understanding of how to navigate compliance with employment verification documents, we have compiled answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

What Documents do I need to Verify Employment?


The federal government requires employers to collect and retain Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) from all newly hired employees. This is used to verify the identity and lawfulness of employment for all new hires within the U.S., regardless of citizenship or national origin. 

Additionally, certain states have additional requirements for additional forms, depending on where you are located.

What do I do if an Employee does not have Identification?


The employee is required to present documentation that establishes his/her identity and eligibility for employment in the United States as outlined by Form I-9. 

If the employee does not have identification, he/she must provide alternative forms that combine to establish his/her identity and eligibility for work in the United States instead.

How Long do I need to keep Employment Verification Documents?


Generally speaking, employers are responsible for maintaining Form I-9s on file for three years after the date of hire or one year after termination, whichever is later. However, it is important to check with your state's laws specifically as they may require longer records retention periods.


Final Thoughts

In summary, employers need to be aware of their obligations when it comes to compliance with employment verification documents and ensure that the necessary documents for each employee are on file. While the process can be arduous, the benefits of having the documents accurately completed and stored securely cannot be ignored. 

By understanding the risks associated with non-compliance and by having clear, up-to-date policies in place to guide you and your employees, you can navigate the compliance process with confidence and have a clear understanding of what your obligations both as an employer and an employee are.

Youverify offers reliable solutions to compliance with employment verification documents. Request a demo today to get started.