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COVID-19: Temporary Form I-9 Process Change for Remote Workers

Applies to: All Employers

Effective: March 20, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.

Specifically, employers hiring remote employees who are 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. If employers are performing inspections remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.), they must obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the Section 2 documents within three business day of hire.

In addition to completing Section 2, Employers also should enter “COVID-19” in the Additional Information field of the form. A physical inspection of original identity and work authorization documents must take place within three business days after normal operations resume. The date of the physical inspection and who conducted it, should also be recorded in the Additional Information field. Employers who avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.

Employers should note that this reprieve only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9. For more information on how to complete Form I-9, employers should review the recently updated USCIS Form M274 - Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9.

Employer Action Items

  1. Ensure use of current Form I-9, which is the only form for authorized use as of May 1, 2020.

  2. Review the USCIS’s Temporary Policies Related to COVID-19.

  3. Update Form I-9 procedures where appropriate.

For more information on evolving compliance regulations the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our  OneDigital Coronavirus Advisory Hub, or reach out to your local OneDigital advisory team.