DHS Announces New I-9 Form, Remote Verification Rule
Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor
July 21, 2023
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that on August 1 it will publish a revised Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The new form has been shortened and streamlined. DHS also announced a final rule allowing remote verification of employment eligibility documents by qualified employers. The final rule will be published in the July 25, 2023, Federal Register.
Since 1986, employers have been required to physically examine new hires' documentation. Beginning August 1, qualified employers, meaning those employers who are participants in good standing in E-Verify, may choose to use an alternative procedure for document examination. Rather than physically examine each original identity and work authorization document provided by the employee, a qualified employer may conduct remote documentation verification.
To conduct a remote examination of Form I-9 documents under the DHS-authorized alternative procedure, certain steps must occur within three business days of an employee's first day of employment.
Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS allowed employers temporary flexibility to inspect Form I-9 documents remotely to accommodate the need for employees to work remotely to limit workers' physical proximity. In May, DHS announced that flexibility would be sunset on July 31.
Employers who used the flexibility to examine employee documents remotely have until August 30 to physically examine those documents in person. However, qualified employers that were enrolled in E-Verify during the COVID-19 temporary flexibilities may use the alternative remote document verification procedure to satisfy this requirement if they:
- Were enrolled in E-Verify at the time they performed a remote examination of an employee's Form I - 9 documentation for Section 2 or reverification while using the COVID - 19 flexibilities;
- Created an E-Verify case for that employee (except for reverification); and
- Performed the remote inspection between March 20, 2020 and July 31, 2023.
The revised Form I-9 reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet and is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices. It also revised the list of acceptable documents to include some acceptable receipts, as well as provide guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation. Perhaps most significantly, it provides a check box allowing employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure.