Initially granted in March 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has provided guidelines for I-9 verification that relax in-person requirements and allow for remote I-9 verification. DHS has since announced several extensions to these requirements. The latest extension was announced on December 23, 2020.
Who does this impact?
This policy only applies to employers with employees who are working remotely due to Covid-19. These employers will not be required to inspect the identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence until after the Covid-19 emergency concludes, so long as the company provides written documentation of remote onboarding on the Form I-9. These employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely, i.e. over video, email, fax, etc. The original timelines for completion of I-9 verification remain in effect.
If an employee is physically attending work at a company work location, these flexibilities do not apply and the employer must verify the employee’s documents in person within the usual required timeframes.
How long will this policy remain in effect?
The current extension of flexibility for I-9 verification requirements is set to expire on January 31, 2021. Given that many companies plan to continue remote operations for the foreseeable future, there is a good chance that these I-9 flexibilities will be extended once again.
Once the Covid-19 emergency concludes, physical inspection of documents for employees who were originally I-9 verified remotely will be required. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer must add "documents physically examined" with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9.
How are Envoy Global and Global Immigration Associates (GIA) responding?
Envoy and GIA will continue to monitor additional updates from DHS regarding I-9 flexibility.
What do I need to do next?
If you have questions regarding the flexibility of I-9 verification requirements, please contact your GIA attorney for further guidance.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Myra Mahmud, who is a Senior Associate at Global Immigration Associates, P.C. (www.giafirm.com), Envoy’s affiliated law firm.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.