US Department of Homeland Security Temporarily Extends Flexibility on Remote Form I-9 Verification

Practice Areas

By: Gladys Gervacio and Elizabeth Goings

On July 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended its interim policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents remotely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This temporary flexibility policy was first announced in March 2020.

The temporary flexibility only applies to employers and workplaces that are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To help employers comply, DHS has provided Form I-9 examples on USCIS’s I-9 Central page. DHS also recommends that employers retain written documentation of their remote onboarding for each employee.  

This policy does not apply to employers who have employees physically present at a work location. These employers must still follow protocol to verify I-9 documents in person, including obtaining, inspecting, and retaining document copies. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will provide exceptions for remote I-9 document verification for employees that are subject to coronavirus quarantine requirements on a case-by-case basis.

DHS’s interim policy is now effective for an additional 30 days through August 19, 2020, or three days after the COVID-19 national emergency is over, whichever comes first. 

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has also announced that after July 19, 2020, they will not grant any additional extensions to employers that received notices of inspection (NOIs) during March 2020.

Conclusion

As of May 1, 2020, employers must use the most recent Form I-9 version (Rev. 10/21/2019). Contact your trusted Chugh, LLP attorney for help complying with immigration regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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