Important Information Regarding Employment of Child Actors

Written by | On-Camera Kids

Hey everyone, Brian with Casting Calls America here talking to you about the importance of having the right ID to get the job. So, here’s the scenario: The federal government in the United States has been a little bit more stringent on work authorization information. So what they’re doing is that they’ve come out with a ruling for the I-9 form, which is what employers use to do the work authorization.

Remember, as an actor, you’re technically supposed to be hired as an employee, even if it’s for a half-day job or a one-day job. Technically it is an employment, not an independent contracting agreement. It should be, but that’s a whole other topic as far as who’s doing what.

In theory, if you have made yourself an LLC you can contract out as an actor, but if you’re an individual and you do not have an LLC then you are an employee for the day. So, we wanted to make sure that you knew what’s kind of going on right now, and that’s especially impactful for kids.

So here’s the deal. When you have an I-9 and you are getting employed, you either submit an item from what’s called Column (List) A, or you have to do one from Column (List) B and one from Column (List) C. Column B is commonly like your driver’s license or a state ID card, and those now have to have a photo on them (to be acceptable for e-verify). Here’s where that gets tricky for kids, that they don’t really have any of those, and if you’re a child being employed as an actor, you’re supposed to have that documentation.

Here’s the I9 and it’s accompanying directions and acceptable documents list

So, here’s what our recommendation is: Get a passport. This is true for all actors, really. It makes things so much easier. If you have a passport, that’s a Column A item which means you only have to have the passport. You don’t have to have any additional documentation for the employment for the I-9. Babies, infants, toddlers and such can get a passport with a photo, so you’re covered there. Plus, you only need the one item, AND especially coming this January, 2019. There are a lot more states that their ID cards are no longer going to be accepted by TSA. So it’s really important, if you’re an adult actor, and you’re traveling for any of your jobs, that you’re aware if your state has the authorization. UPDATE: This has been extended to 2020 by the TSA. Click here for the TSA “Real ID” information.

There are a lot of states where you have to go in and get a special additional endorsement on your license to be able to use it at TSA, you have to go in and get a completely different license, or, according to TSA, and I know this sounds crazy, there are some states whose IDs are not going to be accepted at TSA. Whether or not they actually enforce that, I don’t know. But, if you go to TSA’s website (link above) you’ll see that there are actually quite a few that are going to be in jeopardy of not being able to be used.

So, that’s for travel, but back to the employment aspect of it. The E-verify is now requiring, if you have an ID from Column (List) B on the I-9, that it requires a photo. Again, how many 4-year-olds have an ID that has a photo on it that’s a government-issued, authorized photo? I can’t think of any scenarios. So, because of that, we recommend that you get a passport for your minor.

And again, as an adult, it makes it that much easier. You don’t have to carry around your social security card and all that, you just show them your passport and you’re good to go. (A passport is) your I-9 authorized document for work authorization – good for kids, good for adults, and good for TSA for travel.

So, that’s our tidbit of information based upon some feedback we’ve gotten from actors and especially parents of child actors who have had some issues – especially in California, where this is being really closely-monitored – that we wanted to make sure that you guys were aware of. So I hope that that helps and that everybody is having a great day. Go out there and break some legs!

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Last modified: July 21, 2018

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