U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they would extend for 30 days the flexibility to allow employers with remote workforces to examine Form I-9 identity and employment authorization documents using video, fax or email. The option to examine the required documentation remotely instead of in person is now set to expire September 19, 2020.
The in-person waiver applies only to employers and workplaces that are working entirely 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.
The policy includes the following:
- Employers that have gathering bans or restrictions due to COVID-19 are not required to perform an in-person review of the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents.
- Instead, employers may inspect the employee’s “Section 2” I-9 documents remotely, using “video link, fax or email, etc.” so long as they provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and remote work policy on the employee’s Form I-9.
- This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. Employers are required to review the employee’s documents in person within three days of a return to the work location.
See the original news release (https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/dhs-announces-flexibility-requirements-related-form-i-9-compliance) for more information on how to obtain, remotely inspect, and retain copies of the identity and employment eligibility documents to complete Section 2 of Form I-9.
Employers must monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates about when the extensions end and normal operations resume.