Heads up: You may need to ask to see certain employees’ Form I-9 documents, even if they were hired several years ago.
That’s because the flexibility employers had due to COVID-19 will disappear this summer.
After multiple extensions of the deadline, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued an update, saying the remote option for document inspection will sunset on July 31, 2023.
Virtual or remote review of Form I-9 documents won’t be allowed for any employers after that date.
Some good news: Employers will have a little extra time to get their paperwork ducks in a row – 30 days to be exact. That’ll take us to August 30, 2023.
By then, you’ll need to physically inspect any previously remotely inspected identity and employment eligibility documents.
Going back to 2020
You may have some missing Form I-9 info, which you haven’t thought about since 2020.
Here’s why: In March 2020 when much of the business world suddenly went remote, certain employers could opt to inspect Form I-9 documents virtually or remotely, such as via video, fax or email.
ICE explained that employers would need to write “COVID-19” in Section 2 of the form in the Additional Information section.
In follow-up instructions, ICE said the flexibility would continue until the earlier of the following:
- affected employees got back to non-remote employment on a regular, consistent or predictable basis, or
- the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements was terminated.
In October 2022, word came from ICE that the COVID-related flexibility would end July 31, 2023.
Form I-9 now
To ensure compliance:
- Review your I-9s from March 2020 to now.
- Check to see if you have “COVID-19” written on any I-9s.
- By August 30, 2023, ask affected employees to see their identity and employment eligibility documents.
- If the same person performed the remote and physical inspection, that person should indicate the date and add his or her initials in the Additional Information field. Otherwise, the new person should write the date and his or her full name and title in the Additional Information spot.