COVID-19: Form I-9 Flexibility for Employers

Attorney Tal Burnovski Yeyni

Tal Burnovski Yeyni | Associate

March 23, 2020

Form I-9 Requirements and COVID-19

As many employers know, federal rules require employers to physically verify the identity and eligibility of new hires to work in the united states (Form I-9.)  

In remote hire situations, employers may also designate an authorized representative to physically inspect the new hire’s documents.  However, in light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak and “social distancing” guidelines, the physical inspection requirements can be challenging.

Therefore, on March 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will permit temporary flexibility regarding Form I-9 compliance. 

Remote Verification Process Pursuant to COVID-19

Per the DHS’s announcement, employers and workplaces that are operating remotely (and only those businesses) may be permitted to review a new hire’s identity and employment authorization 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 date of hire.

Once normal operations resume, employers must physically inspect the documents. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Form I-9 (Section 2) and state “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection.

Employers who elect to use the remote verification process must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding Form I-9 requirements or any Covid-19 related question. You can also find more information in our Coronavirus Resources for Clients.

Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an employment defense attorney.

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