Temporary COVID-19 Flexibility Ending July 31st, 2023

February 14, 2023

The current administration recently announced that the national emergency from the COVID-19 pandemic would end this May after starting in March 2020. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security will no longer extend the interim guidance that allowed businesses operating remotely to perform employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) inspections through remote means.

For example, employers could remotely review Section 2 of Form I-9 through fax, video call, or email. However, employers must complete this step within three business days of hiring the employee. Furthermore, employers must still perform in-person reviews for employees who “undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.”

As such, employers must perform the standard document review within three days of the end of flexibilities. They must do so personally or through an authorized representative. As of the last extension, these flexibilities will expire on July 31, 2023. As a result, employers should take this time to prepare in advance. Employers can prepare by planning and starting in-person documentation verifications for employees previously verified remotely.

As these flexibilities grow closer, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will likely issue additional guidance. Until then, employers should bear in mind the following key tips:

  • After physically verifying documents, employers should add “documents physically examined,” and the date of the inspection; employers should put this information in Sections 2 and 3 as appropriate.
  • Sometimes, the person verifying an employee’s documentation or the documentation itself may change when it comes time to perform an in-person verification. In either case, the employer must complete a new Section 2 during the review. Once completed, they must attach Section 2 from the remotely inspected Form I-9 to the new form.
  • In some cases, employers may still have employees who continue working remotely. Employers may utilize authorized representatives in such cases to complete the verification process. However, it is encouraged for employers to review the form to ensure accuracy.

As these upcoming changes show, keeping up with Form I-9 requirements can prove complex and challenging. The best way to ensure uniform compliance is to utilize an electronic I-9 management system. This tool guides employers and authorized representatives through each Form I-9 step. It ensures consistent compliance and provides convenient storage for all related documents.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.