On Friday, March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security used its discretionary authority to allow flexibility for the in-person Form I-9 verification requirements. Here is what you need to know.
Who Is Eligible for This Flexibility?
If you’re an employer practicing social distancing because of the pandemic, you can now remotely review new hires identity and employment authorization documents.
This flexibility only applies to employees working remotely. If the employee is physically present at a work location, there are no exceptions to the typical in-person document verification.
Employers must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each worker.
What Are You Still Required to Do Now for the Document Inspection?
Employers are required to:
- Inspect Section 2 documents remotely. For example, through a video conference, fax, or email.
- Obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents within three business days.
Do the Documents Need to Be Physically Inspected Later?
Yes. Once normal operations resume, you’re required to physically inspect the documents within 3 business days. After this is completed, you must enter the following in the Section 2 “Additional Information” field or in section 3 as appropriate:
- Add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection.
- Enter “COVID-19” as the reason why the physical inspection was delayed.
How Long Is This Flexibility in Effect?
For a period of 60 days starting on March, 20 2020, or within 3 business days after the National Emergency is terminated — whichever comes first.
Don’t Forget about the New Form I-9
Starting Friday, May 1, 2020, a new version of the Form I-9 is required for employment verification.
If you have questions about this new process, please reach out to the Marks Gray Immigration Team for assistance.