Form I-9: Use of Document Receipt OK for Limited Circumstances/Time

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When completing an I-9 Form to verify work eligibility, can an employee show us receipts for documents instead of presenting the documents themselves? If so, how should the receipts be noted on the Form I-9?

When completing a Form I-9, an employee must present identity and work authorization documents to verify employment eligibility, but in limited circumstances can instead present receipts for those documents.

Most often a receipt will be offered when an employee has applied for a replacement of a document that has been lost, stolen or damaged. This type of receipt is valid for 90 days from the date of hire (meaning the first date the individual works for pay) for any item on List A, List B or List C of the Form I-9.

90 Days to Show Document

Within 90 days, the employee must show you the replacement document for which the receipt was given. In the case of reverifying work authorization for a current employee (note that there are specific rules as to when employers can reverify), the receipt is valid for 90 days from the date the original document expired, not 90 days from the date the receipt was issued.

Receipts are not acceptable if they are for the application for an initial employment authorization or renewal of employment authorization (rather than for a replacement document), or if the employee will work for you for less than 3 days.

When a receipt is presented, record the document title in Section 2 under List A, List B or List C, as applicable. Then enter the word “receipt,” the document title and number, and the last day that the receipt is valid.

Actual Document

On or before the date the receipt expires, you must view the actual document. At that point, you should cross out the word “receipt” and any accompanying document number, record the number and other required document information from the actual document presented, and then initial and date the change.

Employers should calendar the date a receipt will expire, and plan to contact the employee before that date to arrange to see the actual document before the expiration date of the receipt. An employee who cannot present actual documents by that point is not authorized to work.

There are other limited circumstances where a receipt may be acceptable. For more information, refer to I-9 Central online at www.uscis.gov.


Column based on questions asked by callers to the Labor Law Helpline, a service to California Chamber of Commerce preferred and executive members. For expert explanations of labor laws and Cal/OSHA regulations, not legal counsel for specific situations, call (800) 348-2262 or submit your question at www.hrcalifornia.com.

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Ellen Savage
About Ellen Savage
Ellen Savage joined the CalChamber in 1990 and currently serves as an HR adviser. She has been assisting employers on the Helpline for almost 15 years. She was the editor of eight editions of the California Labor Law Digest and author of the CalChamber's California Hiring to Termination Guide. Her experience also includes practicing at a large Sacramento law firm and presenting at dozens of employment law seminars statewide. She holds a J.D. from Lincoln Law School.