Volume 9, Edition 5, May 2013

This Month’s Challenge is sponsored by:



Answer: E.

The dates on the fronts of Social Security cards are issue dates, not expiration dates. Those cards with dates on the fronts are valid.

A card bearing the “Valid only with DHS authorization” notation is known as a “restricted” Social Security card; the Social Security Administration typically issues such cards to foreign nationals who possess time-limited work authorization. If an employee presents a restricted Social Security card to you during the I-9 process, you should tell him that the card is not acceptable as a List C document and should give him an opportunity to present alternative documentation. He may be able to present a foreign passport and I-94 card (an document issued to a foreign national when he enters the U.S. indicating his visa status and the expiration date of his authorized stay in the U.S.), an Employment Authorization Document (also known as an I-766, Employment Authorization Card, or EAD), or another document proving work authorization.

While legacy guidance from USCIS indicated that a laminated Social Security card would be unacceptable if the card stated “do not laminate” or “not valid if laminated,” that guidance changed with the government’s release of the revised Handbook for Employers, which indicates that laminated Social Security cards should be accepted for I-9 purposes (so long as they appear to be genuine and to relate to the employees presenting them).

An unsigned Social Security card is acceptable for I-9 purposes, even if the card states that it is only valid if signed!

Which of the following Social Security cards are acceptable proof of employment authorization for Form I-9 purposes?

a) Only those with no dates or notations on the front.

b) Those that state "Valid only with DHS authorization" on the front.

c) Those that have not been signed.

d) Those that have been laminated.

e) C & D.


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