When an employee gives you a Social Security card or other document to complete the I-9 Form, how far must you go to prove that the document is genuine? You can accept the document if it "reasonably appears on its face" as genuine and relates to the person who presents it.
That's one of the main messages in a new bulletin on I-9 document review from the Office of Business Liaison, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (which is now part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). The bulletin provides valuable guidance on the department's expectations of your document-review process.
It says the HR person or manager who signs the I-9 Form is not attesting to the legitimacy of the employee's status, but only "to the fact that he or she has reviewed the original documents and that it reasonably appears ... to be genuine."
The bulletin also includes a warning to organizations that turn a blind eye toward undocumented workers, saying they could be considered to "know" that they're hiring illegal aliens if they ignore obvious signs or if they fail to complete I-9 Forms.
Access the two-page bulletin at www.uscis.gov/graphics/lawsregs/handbook/ obl_103.pdf.