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 each individual 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.
The employee must also present their employer with acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) an employee presents to determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and to relate to the employee and record the document information on the Form I-9.
On March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19 which permitted employers to temporarily conduct remote verification of form I-9 documents. The option for remote verification has been extended several times since 2020 as the pandemic has lingered on.
This latest guidance was set to expire on December 31, 2021. Because of ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, DHS has extended the Form I‑9 requirement flexibility policy until April 30, 2022.
DHS provides examples showing how it is recommended for employers to notate Form I-9 when remotely inspecting employment authorization and identity documents and then subsequently performing the required physical inspection once normal operations resume.
See the original news release from March 23, 2020 for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. Please also consult ICE’s guidance for clarification on this provision.
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. Please see COVID-19 webpage for more information.
ICE is also planning a proposed regulation to be published in the summer of 2022 providing rules for permanent remote document inspection like those temporarily in place. DHS is also looking for potential technology solutions that would give employers the capability to verify that remotely examined documents appear to be genuine and relate to the individual presenting them.
Next Steps for Employers
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.
Employers may refer to the USCIS’ COVID-19 webpage for more information.
HR Works will continue to monitor this topic and provide updated information as it becomes available.