On March 20, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.
What are the details?
This announcement focuses on how employers with remote employees may obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents their employees provide to complete Section 2 of Form I-9. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If you can verify the I-9 documents in person, you are still required to do so.
What do employers need to do?
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.
Employers must review the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over 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.
When normal operations resume, the employer must conduct a physical review of the original documents the employee remotely provided for Section 2. Under the “additional information field” the employer must list the phrase “COVID-19, documents physically examined on” with the date of the physical examination listed. If the documentation presented remotely has expired, a reverification and completion of Section 3 is required.
These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of this notice (March 21, 2020) OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.