Do Interns Need to Complete the Form I-9?

It’s intern season, and droves of summer workers will soon be flocking to employers across the country to get hands-on experience in their chosen career fields.  If your company is planning to employ interns this summer, by now, you’ve probably posted your open positions, interviewed candidates, and sent selection letters.

As you prepare for the arrival of your newest team members, you’ll run down your new-hire checklist eagerly getting things in order.  Your checklist might look something like this:

  • Allocate computer and necessary software access
  • Assign desk or cubicle
  • Designate office phone and extension
  • Partner with mentor or manager
  • Set up company email, etc.

What about paperwork?  Of course, internal company documents, such as emergency contact forms and handbook acknowledgement forms are important, but what about the “Employment Eligibility Verification” form, also known as Form I-9?  Are interns required to complete I-9s?  It depends.

Paid interns must complete the Form I-9.  According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a paid intern is:

“…any person [who] perform[s] labor or services in the United States in return for wages or other remuneration. Remuneration is anything of value given in exchange for labor or services, including food and lodging.”

Unpaid interns are those who will not receive wages or other remuneration.  This classification of workers is not required to complete the Form I-9.

If you have questions about completing the I-9 process, or would like an audit of your existing practices, please contact us.