Temporary Form I-9 Flexibility for Employers with Remote Work Arrangements

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By: Angelita Chavez-Halaka; Armando Escobedo; Gladys Gervacio


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on March 20, 2020 that it will exercise discretion and temporarily defer the physical presence requirement for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for certain employers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This temporary remote I-9 documentation inspection policy was recently extended through September 19, 2020.

Which Employers Qualify for Remote Form I-9 Verification?

  • Employers and workplaces qualify if they are operating remotely due to COVID-19. If there are employees physically present at a work location, employment eligibility should still be verified in-person.
  • For employers whose newly hired employees or existing employees are subject to coronavirus quarantine protocols, DHS will evaluate eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

Remotely Verifying Employee Eligibility for Form I-9

Employers should take the following steps to remotely verify employment eligibility during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Inspect employees’ Section 2 documents remotely (e.g. over video link, fax, email, etc.)
  • Review and retain copies of Section 2 documents within three business days of employment start date
  • Employees must report to their employer for in-person verification of their identity and employment eligibility documents within three business days after normal operations resume
  • In the Section 2 “Additional Information” field, indicate:
    • “Documents physically examined”
    • The date of inspection
    • “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay in physical inspection
  • Provide written documentation of the company’s remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee verified remotely

Please note:

  • All employers will continue to be liable for any violations on Form I-9 or during the verification process.
  • Employers can delay I-9 physical presence requirements until the interim policy expires, or within three business days of the national emergency’s end, whichever comes first.

Stay Updated

Have your human resources department email us at info@chugh.com for questions on complying with Form I-9 requirements. We recommend sharing this alert with others who might benefit.

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