DHS Eases In-Person Requirements for Form I-9 Compliance

March 24, 2020 | United States of America

Due to ongoing coronavirus concerns, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is waiving the physical presence requirements for Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) compliance.

Typically, Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires an employer to physically verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization documentation in person. However, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns and restrictions imposed by social distancing, DHS is allowing employers to verify an employee’s identity and employment documentation remotely. Employers must inspect all Section 2 documentation within three business days of receipt. They can verify documentation using video conferencing, email, fax, or other electronic methods. Employers should retain copies of all documentation verified electronically and list “COVID-19” as the reason for an in-person identity and documentation inspection delay. They should also note that the documents were physically inspected and provide a date on the “Additional Information” section of the employee’s Form I-9. Employers may continue using remote document verification until May 20, 2020 or for three days after the COVID-19 National Emergency ends, whichever date comes first.

When DHS resumes normal operations, employees whose documentation was verified electronically due to the COVID-19 National Emergency must complete an in-person identity and document verification with their employer within three business days. The employer should state “documents physically examined” with the corresponding date on the “Additional Information” section of the Form I-9.

The in-person waiver applies only to businesses with remote workers. The in-person document and identity verification requirement still applies to companies with an onsite workforce.