On May 4, 2023, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that employers would have 30 days to reach compliance with Form I-9 requirements after the COVID-19 remote document examination flexibilities sunset on July 31, 2023.
In March 2020, ICE announced that it would defer the requirement that employers physically review employees’ identity and employment authorization documents, instead allowing inspection of documents to occur remotely. This policy continued, with the expectation that physical inspection would occur within three business days after normal operations resumed.
In October 2022, DHS and ICE announced that the flexibilities would be extended until July 31, 2023. The latest May 4, 2023 announcement states that employers have until Aug. 30, 2023, to perform physical examination of identity and employment eligibility documents for those individuals hired on or after March 20, 2020, and who have only received a virtual or remote examination under the flexibilities.
After review of the physical documents, employers should enter “documents physically examined” with the date of examination in Section 2 Additional Information field on the Form I-9, or in Section 3, as appropriate. USCIS has provided examples of the correct procedures for recording the physical examination of documents on the I-9 on their COVID-19 Policies page.
Employers may choose to use an authorized representative to fill out their portion of the Form I-9 on their behalf. Authorized representatives may also complete the in-person inspection as needed.
DHS is working towards updating procedures for document inspection. On Aug. 18, 2022, DHS issued a proposed rule that would allow alternative procedures for the examination of identity and employment eligibility documents. The public comment period closed on Oct. 17, 2022. DHS is currently reviewing public comments and plans to issue a final rule later this year.