DHS Announces I-9 Update

Friday morning, due to the nationwide precautions related to the coronavirus, the Department of Homeland Security announced it will defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). 

Employers with employees who are self-quarantining, self-isolating, or practicing other social distancing measures will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the presence of the employee.

Employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for the purposes of completing Section 2. Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Additional Information field once the physical inspection takes place after normal business resumes.

These provisions may be implemented by employers for 60 days from today OR within the 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.

Employers must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policies for each employee.

Any future audits of subsequent Forms I-9 would use the “in-person completed date” as a starting point.

This provision ONLY applies to employers and workplaces that are working remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of the identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9. Employers may designate an authorized representative to act on their behalf to complete Section 2.

Effective March 19, 2020, any employers who were served NOIs by DHS in March who have not already responded will be granted an automatic 60-day extension from the effective date.

As DHS continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and provide updates, so will Erickson Immigration Group. We recognize this situation continues to evolve; if you have specific questions, please contact your EIG attorney.