Last fall, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a request for public comment on alternatives to physical document examination during the I-9 review process. DHS’ progression towards issuing a proposed rule to permanently allow virtual document examination options for reviewing the Form I-9 in certain circumstances is advancing. The proposal is currently being reviewed by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which is the last step before publication in the Federal Register.
Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for everyone they hire for employment in the United States. This includes citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form.
Since the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual reviews of the Form I-9 have been permitted to help employers that are hiring remote workers by waiving requirements that employers inspect documents in person in workplaces that were operating remotely, and those employers have been allowed to use alternatives like videoconferencing, fax or e-mail. This flexibility was most recently extended through October 31, 2022.
Next Steps for Employers
Employers should continue to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates about the progression of this rulemaking process.
E-Verify participants who meet the criteria and choose the remote inspection option should continue to follow current guidance and create cases for their new hires within three business days from the date of hire.
Until a Final Rule is announced, employers should continue to refer to the USCIS’ COVID-19 webpage for more information on remote verification practices.
HR Works will continue to monitor this topic and provide updated information as it becomes available.