Important Form I-9 Flexibility Updates for Remote Employers


Important Form I-9 Flexibility Updates for Remote Employers

Have you heard about the extension from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)? They’ve recently announced an important extension in the flexibility complying with Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.


Rather than expiring on March 31, DHS extended the flexibility policy another 60 days until May 31, 2021.


Due to ongoing precautions related to COVID-19, many companies are still working remotely, and this extension applies only to those employers and their workers.


From the original news release from March 23, 2020, ICE states that:

“Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over a video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate. These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of this notice OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.”

Employers should consult with ICE’s guidance for further clarification and monitor both the DHS and ICE’s Workforce Enforcement announcements for any other details about when the extensions end and normal operations continue.


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