I-9 Overview and Process

Form I-9

The I-9 Form is the Employment Eligibility Verification Form required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to verify your identity and your eligibility to work. All employees must complete this form within your first 3 working days and provide valid original identifications. You are not eligible for pay until you have completed your I-9.

Click to complete section 1 of the Form I-9 Online. When you log in, the system will display a series of letters and/or numbers and ask you to type them into a display box for security purposes; then hit continue.

Please enter all information carefully, and electronically sign the form.

Once Section 1 is completed, the list of acceptable documents for Section 2 will be presented to you. Please bring the required documents with you within 3 business days of your start date in order to complete Section 2 of the I-9 in person.

Remote Hires

If you will not be present at Columbia University on or prior to your first day of employment to complete the I-9 and provide original documentation, please work with your Departmental HR Contact to find a remote agent who is authorized to complete Section 2 of your I-9. As a remote hire, you still must complete the I-9 within three business days of your hire date.


To view the University's I-9 Policy, visit the Administrative Policy Library (APL)(link is external).

CU I-9 Service Centers

Morningside Campus

  • 210 Kent Hall (Morningside Campus)
  • Studebaker (in Manhattanville)
    622 West 132nd Street - 4th Floor


Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

  • Administration Building, Room 208
    61 Route 9W
    Palisades, NY 10964


Medical Center

  • CUMC Human Resources - Georgian Building, 617 W. 168th St., 2nd Floor
  • Medicine - PH 8 West Room 862
  • Mailman School of Public Health - 600 W. 168th, 7th Floor
  • Pediatrics - Children's Hospital CHC Room 104
  • Surgery - PH 14, Room 105
  • Psychiatry - 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 5
  • OB/GYN - PH 16021
  • College of Dental Medicine - P&S 7th Floor
  • Neurology - 710 W. 168th, 9th Floor room 100



E-Verify is an Internet-based system that enables employers to electronically verify United States work eligibility of employees. The system compares employee information taken from the Form I-9 against the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases.  Federal regulations require all organizations that hold certain federal contracts to verify the employment eligibility of those employees working under the federal contract.

All existing personnel, including officers of instruction, officers of research, officers of the libraries, officers of administration, support staff (including casual and temporary workers) and student officers who perform substantial duties on a covered federal contract are required to complete a new Form I-9 and to be E-Verified. This includes all current employees hired after November 6, 1986, who are performing work in the United States under a contract or sub-contract that includes the E-Verify clause.

There are a few limited exceptions to the E-Verify rule:

  • Any employee who was hired by Columbia University prior to November 6, 1986 and has been continuously employed at the University.
  • Any employee who has been granted and holds an active federal agency HSPD-12 compliant credential or a U.S. Government security clearance for access to confidential, secret, or top secret information in accordance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual.
  • Any employee who may be working under a covered contract, but who normally performs support work, such as indirect or overhead functions, and does not perform any substantial duties applicable to the contract.

How to Complete the E-Verify Requirement

  1. You will receive notification from your Departmental Administrator and possibly your Principal Investigator
  2. Once you are notified, you have 15 calendar days to complete a new electronic Form I-9 and be E-Verified
  3. The Form I-9 has two required sections. In order to complete section 1 of the Form I-9, please see above for details on the I-9 process.
  4. Once you have completed Section 1, please bring the required documents (the list of acceptable documents is provided to you at the end of section 1) with you to one of the campus I-9 Centers in order to complete Section 2 of the I-9 in person.
  5. After you have completed section 2 of the Form I-9, the E-Verify query will be run automatically. You will receive the result of the query immediately, while you are in the I-9 Center.