The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will defer the requirements for employers to review Form I-9 documents in-person with new employees. The change applies to employers and workplaces that are operating completely remotely.
DHS announced that “Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.”
The physical documentation review requirements remains in effect for employees that are physically present at a work location. “Employers that avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.”
Employers are still required to inspect the Section 2 documents over video conference, fax, or e-mail and obtain and retain copies of the documents within three business days. Employers who go this route should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the additional information field 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 their identity and employment eligibility documentation. Once the documents have been reviewed, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field.
This remains in effect until May 19 or within three business days after the termination of the national emergency, whichever comes first.