DHS Ending Form I-9 Remote Verification

Author: Robert S. Teachout, XpertHR Legal Editor

May 15, 2023

The COVID-19 flexibilities for reviewing required Form I-9 employee eligibility documents will be sunset on July 31, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced. Employers will have 30 days (until August 30) to comply with requirements to physically inspect identity and employment eligibility documents.

Since 1986, employers have been required to physically examine new hires' documentation within three business days after their first day of employment. But at the start of the pandemic in March 2020, as employers required more and more employees to work remotely to limit physical proximity, DHS granted employers temporary flexibility to inspect Form I-9 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email). Since then, DHS has extended that flexibility several times - most recently until July 31, 2023.

With its latest announcement, DHS is notifying employers that the current flexibility options are ending for remote document inspections.

However, in August 2022 DHS also issued a proposed rule that would formalize the agency's authority to extend flexibilities, provide alternative options, or conduct a pilot program to further evaluate options for document examination procedures in the future. The public comment period closed in October 2022, and DHS reports that it is currently reviewing public comments and plans to issue a final rule later this year.