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Form I-9 Acceptable Documents – List A

All employers must complete and retain Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, for every person they hire for employment after Nov. 6, 1986, in the U.S. as long as the person works for pay or other type of payment.

Employees must provide documentation to their employers to show their identity and authorization to work. List A documents show identity and employment authorization. List B documents show identity and List C documents show employment authorization. If a List A document is presented, no other documents from List B or List C are necessary.

This blog will review the basics of List A documents –

U.S. Passport
A passport is a travel document issued by a country’s government. Passports generally contain identifying information including, the individual’s name, place and date of birth, photograph and signature. (Note: An unsigned passport is acceptable as long as it reasonably appears on its face to be genuine and relates to the person presenting it.). A U.S. passport card (wallet-sized card) is also an acceptable List A document.

Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)
Lawful permanent residents do not need to be reverified. However, if an employee presents a lawful permanent resident card that shows a temporary status, then reverification may be necessary. Temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status includes:

  • A foreign passport with a temporary Form I-551 stamp or I-551-printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) (acceptable as a List A document);
  • An expired Permanent Resident Card with Form I-797, Notice of Action, indicating that the card is valid for an additional year (acceptable as a List C document); and
  • A Form I-94 with a temporary Form I-551 stamp, which is a receipt for the Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551). At the end of the receipt validity period, which is the expiration date of the stamp, the employee must present his or her Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551).

(Note: A signature is not required for the card to be valid. Additionally, a Permanent Resident Card with a USCIS-issued sticker extending its validity is a List A document and is acceptable for I-9 purposes.)

Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that contains a photograph (Form I-766)
USCIS began issuing the current card on May 1, 2017. However, some cards issued after May 1, 2017, may still display the previous format. Both the previous and new cards will remain valid until the expiration date shown on the card.

Foreign Passport with Form I-94 or form I-94A with Arrival-Departure Record, and Containing an Endorsement to Work
Most employees who present a foreign passport in combination with a Form I-94 or I-94A (List A, Item 5) are restricted to work only for the employer who petitioned on their behalf. If you did not submit a petition for an employee who presents such documentation, then that nonimmigrant worker is not usually authorized to work for you.

This document may only be used if the period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment does not conflict with any restrictions or limitations listed on Form I-94 or I-94A, Arrival-Departure Record. Note: Some individuals who present this List A document, such as certain nonimmigrant students and exchange visitors, must present additional documentation in order to prove their work authorization in the U.S.

Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or Form I-94A
Under the Compacts of Free Association between the United States and FSM and RMI, most citizens of FSM and RMI are eligible to reside and work in the United States as nonimmigrants. An amendment to the Compacts eliminated the need for citizens of these two countries to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-766) to work in the United States. However, FSM and RMI citizens may also apply for Employment Authorization Documents (Forms I-766) if they wish, or present a combination of List B and List C documents. The List A document specific to FSM and RMI citizens is a valid FSM or RMI passport with a Form I-94/I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under one of the Compacts.

Foreign Passport Containing a Form I-551 Stamp or Form I-551 Printed Notation
Passport must contain a temporary Form I-551 stamp or temporary Form I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV). This document is subject to reverification.

Source: USCIS website

Look for our next blog for information on List B Documents.


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EAF provides information about current developments in labor and employment law. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Questions requiring legal advice should be addressed to the attorney of your choice. EAF members may be able to obtain a legal interpretation through our FREE Legal Hotline.