On 16 June, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a 30-day extension of its relaxed compliance of required physical inspection of I-9 identity and employment authorization documents until 19 July
Employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired for work in the United States using the Employment Eligibility Verification form, known as the I-9. The I-9 requires employees to attest to their employment eligibility and present acceptable documents evidencing identity and employment authorization. The employer must examine the document(s) to determine whether they reasonably appear genuine and relate to the employee. The document information is then entered on part of the Form I-9. Employers typically must authenticate the document(s) in-person. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took temporary safety precautions that included not requiring physical presentation of documents.
ICE first announced this policy in March. It was originally set to expire on 19 May but has been extended until 19 July. The policy permits certain employers to obtain and review documents remotely via email, fax, or video conferencing. The accommodation is meant to be a temporary solution during a time of heightened safety measures and is meant only for employers with workforces working remotely. This remote authentication option is not mandatory; if there are physically present employees at the work location, there are no exceptions for in-person verification. Employers are still required to complete their inspections on the usual timeline.
Those who use this remote I-9 option must document their remote onboarding and telework policies for each employee. Additionally, employees who were onboarded remotely must report for in-person verification once normal operations resume, with employers entering "COVID-19" onto the Form I-9 as the reason for the physical inspection delay