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.
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
- 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 for a total of 60 days from March 20, 2020, or within three business days of the national emergency’s end, whichever comes first.
Have your human resources department email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions on complying with Form I-9 requirements. We recommend sharing this alert with others who might benefit.