On April 25, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced an extension of the flexibility in complying with requirements related to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, due to COVID-19.
The policy, which was originally announced on March 20, 2020, was previously set to expire on April 30, 2022. Under this flexibility announcement, employers are not required to conduct in-person inspections of Form I-9 identity and employment eligibility documentation for employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, who do not physically report to work at a company location on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis. Employers are temporarily exempt from the physical inspection requirements until these employees undertake non-remote employment on a regular basis or until the flexibilities related to the requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier. DHS is extending the in-person Form I-9 compliance flexibilities until October 31, 2022.
Although employers do not have to inspect the documents in person, Section 2 documents must be inspected remotely (via video link, fax, email, etc.), and an employer must obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume, employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in Section 2.
Once normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility for Form I-9.
Employers are encouraged to begin, at their discretion, the in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for employees who were hired on or after March 20, 2020, and who presented such documents for remote inspection on reliance on the flexibilities first announced in March 2020.