On May 5, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the expiration of the pandemic provision allowing employers to review Form I-9 employment verification documents remotely. Employers will have 30 days to physically inspect all previously remotely verified employee’s I-9 documents.
As a reminder, federal law requires all employers to verify the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees using the Form I-9. Employers must physically inspect the documents employees produce to establish employment authorization within three days of hire and certify that the documents appear to be genuine.
In March 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS suspended the physical inspection requirement and permitted employers to remotely inspect employment eligibility documents for newly hired employees. With the ending of the U.S. public health emergency for COVID-19, DHS has announced the expiration of the Form I-9 remote (or electronic) inspection policy.
Key changes for employers, effective July 31, 2023
- Employers will no longer be permitted to remotely verify newly hired employees’ employment eligibility documents.
- Employers must again physically inspect employment eligibility documents within three days of hire.
- Employers must go back and physically verify the documents of all employees who were previously verified remotely.
- ICE has given employers 30 days to physically inspect the documents of all workers hired since March of 2020 whose documents were remotely verified.
- After inspection, add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the I-9.
- Employers can have an authorized representative complete Section 2 of the I-9 on their behalf. However, the employer is still liable for any violations in connection with Form I-9 or the employment verification process.
- DHS encourages employers to ensure that all required physical inspection of identity and employment eligibility documents be completed by August 30, 2023.