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Late Breaking News: Government Approves Remote I-9 Review Due to COVID-19

UPDATE December 3: On November 18, it was announced that this rule will be extended till the end of the 2020.

Form I-9 Review: Key Details

On Friday March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would relax its standards for I-9 document verification amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being made at this time to review and verify documents in person.

Remote Inspections

Employers taking physical proximity precautions must inspect the physical documents remotely (over video link, fax, e-mail etc.) and obtain, inspect and retain copies of documents within 3 business days for the purpose of completing Section 2.

Once normal operations resume, employees must report to their employer within 3 business days for in-person verification of their identity and employment authorization documents. Once this physical inspection takes place, the employer should enter the following under additional information (in Section 2 or Section 3 as appropriate): COVID-19, documents physically examined and the date the documents were physically reviewed.

E-Verify Updates:

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented the following polices to help minimize the burden on both employers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Employers are still required to create cases for any new hire within three business days from the date of hire.
  • Employers must use the hire date from the employee’s I-9 when creating an E-Verify case. If this is delayed due to COVID-19 precautions, select “Other” from the drop-down list and enter – “COVID-19” as the specific reason.
  • Employers may not take any adverse action against an employee because the E-Verify case is in an interim case status, including while the employee’s case is in an extended interim case status.

What’s Next?

This provision will apply until the termination of the national emergency or until May 19, 2020, whichever comes first. Employers who exercise this option must provide documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policies for each employee. If newly hired employees are subject to COVID-19 quarantine or lockdown protocols, DHS will evaluate each matter on a case by case basis.