How a Simple I-9 Form Can End Your Chance of Getting A “Green Card” in the United States

Since 1986, U.S. employers have been required to verify that all new hires verify their identity and authorization work by having a new employee complete Form I-9 “Employment eligibility Verification Form.”

The current I-9 Form requires you to clearly identify if you are a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work. Older versions had a box that read “U.S. citizen or National” which created much confusion in the past.

Checking off that you are a U.S. citizen on an I-9 form (when you know that you are not) has the dire consequence of making you permanently ineligible to ever receive a lawful permanent residence status in the U.S. That means that even if you are married a U.S. citizen, you will be denied your “green card” if you have ever falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen.  Checking off U.S. citizen on the I-9 form counts as a “false claim to U.S. citizenship” just as much as if you voted in an election (since only a U.S. citizen may vote).

You may be wondering, how will U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) ever find out? While submitting a copy of the I-9 Form is not a required document when applying for permanent resident status, USCIS is allowed certainly allowed to investigate and may even request all copies of prior I-9 Forms.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has even held that it does not violate an immigrant’s rights to permit USCIS to obtain these I-9 Forms and education records.   Readers of our site should know that residents of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakota are all within the jurisdiction of the Eighth Circuit so this decision is especially relevant to you.