What do I copy?

Most assignments will require that you copy the identification documents that you describe in Section 2 of Form I-9. Generally, you should copy any side or portion of the document that shows meaningful identification information. Specifically, when you copy:

All Passports (U.S. and foreign)

  • Copy the page with the employee’s photograph (the info page);
  • *New: Copy the barcode page (U.S. Passports);
  • Do not copy the cover or any other pages.

U.S. Passport Card

  • Copy the front and back of the card.

Permanent Resident and Employment Authorization Cards

  • Copy the front and back of the card.

List B Documents

  • Copy the front of the document only.

List C Documents

  • Copy the front of the document only, unless there is also meaningful information on the back.

About Copying Identification Documents

  • Document copies must be legible; the printed information must be readable. In a government audit, the existence of a legible document copy can mean the difference between a small correction and a hefty fine when the form isn’t correct.
  • Employers who participate in E-Verify are required, regardless of their document copying policy otherwise, to copy U.S. Passports, U.S. Passport Cards, Permanent Resident Cards, and Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). The photo must be clear enough to match the photo to the photo on file in the government system.
The USCIS Rules Regarding Document Copies
[Source: Handbook for Employers (M-274)]

You [the employer] may choose to copy or scan documents an employee presents when completing Form I-9, which you may retain with their Form I-9. Making photocopies of an employee’s document(s) does not take the place of completing Form I-9. Even if you retain copies of documentation, you are still required to fully complete and retain Form I-9. If you choose to retain copies of an employee’s documents, you must do so for all employees, regardless of actual or perceived national origin or citizenship status, or you may be in violation of anti- discrimination laws.

Copies or electronic images of presented documents must be retrievable consistent with DHS’s standards on electronic retention, documentation, security, and electronic signatures for employers and employees, as specified in 8 CFR Part 274a.2(b)(3).

If you make copies or electronic images of the employee’s documents, they must be either retained with the corresponding Form I-9 or stored with the employee’s records in accordance with the standards for electronic records retention as specified in 8 CFR 274a.2(b)(3). However, if copies or electronic images of the employee’s documents are made, they must be made available at the time of a Form I-9 inspection by DHS or another federal government agency.

Please contact us with your questions about copying identification documents!