The U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has once again extended the allowance for employers who are working exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions, to be exempt from the physical inspection requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9). This will be in effect until December 31, 2021. The full ICE allowance and requirements are available here.
The ICE modified process allows the following:
Employers must still inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days of hire for purposes of completing Section 2 of the Form I-9. Employers should also enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 “Additional Information” field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume.
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 identity and employment eligibility documentation for the Form I-9. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection and who inspected the documents to the Section 2 “Additional Information” field on the Form I-9, or to Section 3 as appropriate.
This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for the Form I-9.