DHS Announces I-9 Compliance Extension Through July 2023
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced the extension of the temporary I-9 verification option. The agencies cited ongoing precautions due to the pandemic.
The temporary rule was initially announced in March 2020 and has been extended several times since then. The latest extension had been set to expire October 31, 2022.
Under the temporary rule, employees hired on or after April 1, 2021 who work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19 related precautions, are temporarily exempt from the I-9 physical inspection requirements until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier. (ICE)
Employers Should Use the Current I-9 Form
Until further notice, employers should continue using the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, though it was originally due to expire October 31, 2022. DHS will publish a Federal Register notice when the new Form I-9 becomes available.
ICE I-9 Remote Verification Eligibility
It’s important to know that the temporary I-9 flexibility is valid only for companies with a 100% remote workforce. In addition, employers must obtain, inspect and retain copies of the documents within three business days.
Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the 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. United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USICE).
What Documents are Required for I-9 Verification?
ICE classifies verification IDs in three categories List A (verifies both identity and authorization to work), List B (verifies identity) and List C (employment authorization only): The following documents fall under List A:
- U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
- Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt card (Green Card)
- Employment Authorization Document Card
- Foreign passport with Form I-94 or Form I-94A with Arrival-Departure Record, and containing an endorsement to work
If the new hire doesn’t have one of these, they will need to submit two documents, one from List B and one from List C: see Form I-9 Acceptable Documents. USCIS has changed the requirements regarding expired documents, so be sure to check their website for current rules.
Do You Need to Formalize Your Onboarding Process and Update Your Handbook?
Employers who take advantage of the remote verification process must provide documentation of their onboarding process and remote work/telework policy. For step-by-step instructions on onboarding, see: The Onboarding Process – Steps and Checklist. Furthermore, when the policy is formalized and documented, employers should add it to their employee handbook. See How To Write and Update Your Employee Handbook + Template for instructions and a template with a sample remote work policy.
- Initial ICE announcement on I-9 COVID-related compliance options issued March 20, 2020
- USCIS Temporary Policies Related to COVID-19
- Form I-9 resources, USCIS
- Tracker I-9: Completing Form I-9 With the Verified First Integration, Verified First (Swipeclock applicant tracking integration partner)
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