USCIS Extends Eligibility for I-9 Identity Documentation Due to COVID-19

May 4, 2020 | United States of America

Due to COVID-19, USCIS has issued a temporary policy extending eligibility for certain I-9 identity documents.

The temporary policy, which was implemented on May 1, 2020, states that Form I-9 List B identity documents with expiration dates on or after March 1, 2020 will be valid for I-9 purposes, provided they have not been extended by the issuing authority. The temporary policy was enacted because many identity documents, such as state ID cards and driver’s licenses, cannot be renewed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency notes that within 90 days after the temporary policy ends, employees must provide current identity documents to replace the expired documents that they submitted with their applications during the pandemic. Employees will ideally provide a current version of the same identity document that they originally submitted. However, USCIS will also accept an unexpired version of a different document in List A or List B. Applicants should list the original identity document and its replacement, along with the word “COVID-19,” in Section 2 of the Form I-9 marked “Additional Information.” If the employee submits an acceptable expired document from List B that has been extended by the issuing agency, the employer should note the document’s expiration date in Section 2 and write “COVID-19 EXT” in the Additional Information Field.

This temporary measure follows a relaxation of the I-9 physical presence requirements issued by the Department of Homeland Security. Employers that are taking precautions to avoid the spread of coronavirus do not have to perform an in-person inspection of qualifying identity documents as is normally required. Instead, they must inspect documents used for Section 2 remotely. They must also receive, inspect, and make copies of the original identity verification documents within three days after inspecting the documents remotely. Employers should note “COVID-19” in the Additional Information Field in Section 2 as the reason for a delay in physical document inspection when completing the I-9 documentation. Employers should also note the date that they inspected the original documents in the Additional Information section.

Learn more about USCIS List B document requirements during COVID-19 with Julie Pearl and SHRM.