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Question: If an internal I-9 audit uncovers that Section 2 was not completed but copies of verification documents are attached to the I-9, can the employer now complete Section 2 based on the attached document copies?

Answer: The purpose of the I-9’s Section 2 is for the employer’s representative to validate that he or she has inspected the employee’s original work authorization documentation and believes that the employee is authorized to work in the United States. Even though there are copies of the documentation attached to the I-9, completing the I-9 now without inspecting the original documents may create a compliance risk if that document is reviewed as part of a government audit. The best practice recommendation for full compliance would be for the employer to request that the employee present validation documents in person as soon as possible and explain to the employee why the information is necessary. Presumably the employee will have the documents, and it will simply be a matter of correcting Section 2 as described below.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

Employers and/or their authorized representative may only correct errors made in Section 2 or Section 3 of Form I-9. When correcting Sections 2 or 3, the employer should:

  • Draw a line through the incorrect information.
  • Enter the correct information.
  • Initial and date the correction.