Is Pre-Population of Section 1 Allowed for Form I-9?

Welcome to the fifth post in a series celebrating the publication of my new book: I-9 Verification Employment eGuide for HR professionals. This book is a free guide that covers everything busy HR pros need to know to avoid common issues throughout the I-9 verification process.

These blog posts cover the first chapter of the book, “Top 10 Questions from Employers About I-9s.” So far, I have covered:

In this post, I will discuss the rules surrounding pre-population of Section 1 for Form I-9, and when doing this is prohibited or allowed.

Pre-Population of Section 1 for Form I-9

In short, the pre-population of Section 1 for Form I-9 can have grave consequences for employers. It may seem like a minor error in the form’s completion process, and it can be a common mistake, but it is one you do not want to make.

Some employers use electronic onboarding systems integrated with other HR processes. In this case, employers with electronic I-9 systems should be sure their software does not pre-populate Section 1 or they are at risk of legal consequences.

If this software has already filled in important information for the new hire in their I-9 paperwork, it should be filled in again by the employee. This practice reduces erroneous and inaccurate employee information being filed. 

Even if an employee simply reviews the entries and signs the section in affirmation of the entries, pre-population by electronic I-9 systems is prohibited by ICE.

When Is Pre-Population Permitted?

So, is pre-population ever permitted in the I-9 process? Actually, yes. 

There are fields in Section 2 that can be pre-populated from other electronic sources. These can include an employee’s name and address. As always, however, these should be reviewed closely.

Confirmed Form I-9 Prohibition Sources

It’s important to be familiar with the multiple sources confirming the prohibition of pre-population of Section 1 for Form I-9. In addition to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) published guidance on pre-population, some sources are linked below:

Next week, we will dig into the sixth topic from Chapter 1: Can an employer with remote hires delegate the responsibility of physically examining the employee’s original documents to one person and have another person complete the attestation based on photocopies of the documents or via webcam?

Learn far more detailed information about the entire I-9 verification process by downloading my new eGuide now.