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Spot an I-9 Error? Skip the White-Out – Do This Instead

Wood_SocialShare_Spot an I-9 Error


What would you do if received a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Panic? Break out in a cold sweat? Or lean back in your chair and declare, “I got this.”

If it’s not the third option, you need to read this post!

Properly preparing for an ICE audit means keeping your I-9 forms in compliance, 100% of the time. But hey, we’re all human – and mistakes do sometimes happen. Here are a few of the more common ones when it comes to the I-9:

  • Omitting essential information
  • Entering information incorrectly
  • Accepting improper documentation to verify citizenship status
  • Failing to re-verify eligibility, when necessary
  • Failing to keep or to destroy forms within the recommended time frames
  • Failing to properly sign and date the form

If, during a self-audit, you spot an I-9 error, what should you do?

First of all, don’t panic. In most cases, clerical and verification mistakes can be easily rectified. But when it comes to compliance, there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to make a correction. So if you spot an I-9 error, don’t reach for the White Out. Do these things instead:

  1. Make sure you have correct information before making any change. If you plan to cross out incorrect information, you must also include corrections.
  2. Designate the proper person to make the change. If corrections are needed in Section 1, ask the employee to make the change. For corrections in Sections 2 and 3, however, only the employer or an authorized representative may make changes (use the process below to make corrections the right way).
  3. Cross out incorrect information. Draw a single line through the incorrect information so that it’s still clearly readable, yet clearly struck out. Never scribble out incorrect information, use an eraser or cover up information with correction fluid.
  4. Insert correct information above or in the margin (use a different color ink if you can).
  5. Ensure that each correction is initialed and dated. The individual making the correction should write his initials beside the corrected information, along with the date the correction was made.
  6. Include an explanation of the change. A brief marginal note that explains why the correction was made can be useful when explaining it during an ICE audit.
  7. If major errors were made, a new Form I-9 may be completed with the correct information. Staple the old form to the new one and include a note (initialed and dated) explaining what changes were made and why.

Note: while the information in this post is not intended as legal advice (consult a licensed attorney with specific legal or compliance questions), it should help you better understand the most common I-9 errors and correct them accordingly.

As a leading Middle Tennessee employment agency, Wood Personnel can help you get work done and stay compliant:

  • As the employer of record for our temporary employees, we are responsible for handling worker authorization and paperwork – freeing you to focus on your top priorities.
  • Our goal is to make staffing simpler and safer for you. Rest assured that when we send you temporary employees, they are thoroughly screened and authorized to work for your organization.