- DHS has extended its remote I-9 verification measures through December 2021 due to COVID-19
- The measures were initially granted in March 2020 and were set to expire on August 31, 2021
- The policy only applies to employers with employees working fully remotely during the pandemic
- Regular in-person document inspection requirements apply for employees who are physically working at the company’s work location
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 of the flexible measures, set to expire on August 31, 2021, will remain in place through December 31, 2021.
What are the Changes?
The current extension of flexibility for I-9 verification requirements is set to expire on December 31, 2021. Since many companies plan to continue remote operations for the foreseeable future, these I-9 flexibilities may be extended once again.
Once the COVID-19 emergency concludes, a 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.
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 usually required timeframes.
Additional updates from DHS regarding I-9 flexibility will be announced as available. If you have questions regarding the flexibility of I-9 verification requirements, please contact your attorney for further guidance.