Employers who verified I-9 eligibility virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic have until August 30, 2023, to complete the in-person inspection required for Form I-9.
Since March 2020, virtual inspections of identity and employment eligibility documents have been permitted when all employees work remotely due to COVID-19 or when a new employee was working remotely due to COVID-19 after April 1, 2021. In October 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the temporary flexibility provisions would end on July 31, 2023. But their announcement made on May 4, 2023, allows employers one additional month to physically inspect identity and employment eligibility documents for employees hired on or after March 20, 2020, and who have received only a virtual or remote examination.
To ensure compliance and avoid any issues with completing in-person inspections, ICE recommends that employers plan ahead, even with the extension. It's important to note that DHS and ICE presume that the same employer representative who reviewed the documents remotely will also conduct the in-person document review. If a different representative performs the physical inspection, employers should follow DHS guidance by completing a new Section 2 of Form I-9 and attaching it to the previously completed remote inspection Form I-9.
Pending Rules Changes
Employers may soon be able to remotely review Form I-9 identity and employment eligibility documents when hiring, reverifying, and rehiring employees. This comes as a result of a proposed rule by DHS, which aims to provide alternative options for Form I-9 document examination procedures for some or all employers. The proposed rule would allow the department to extend flexibilities and conduct pilot programs to evaluate alternative procedures for employers, regardless of whether their employees physically report to work at an employer worksite. Therefore, employers need to stay up-to-date on the DHS' rulemaking process.
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