UPDATE: The US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has relaxed I-9 requirements for remote workers and those seeking to avoid in-person contact and potential exposure to COVID-19.
Employers completing Section 2 may now inspect verification documents through video, fax, webcam, or email and “obtain, inspect, and retain” copies of the documents within three business days. When businesses return to normal business operations, employers must physically inspect the documents and write “COVID-19” as the reason for delay in the “additional information” field as well as “documents physical examined” with the date of inspection to that field.
The exception applies only to employees working remotely, and is not permissible for any employers who have a physical presence in a work location at this time.
Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new Form I-9 (version 10/21/2019). The only changes are the additions of Eswatini and Macedonia, North to the list of countries in the Country of Issuance and Issuing Authority drop down fields on the fillable version of the Form (to reflect those countries’ recent name changes) and an update to the Form’s instructions.
Employers should begin using the new Form I-9 immediately. The USCIS does allow, however, a grace period in which employers may continue to use the prior version of the Form (Rev. 07/17/2017N) until April 30, 2020. After April 30, employers can only use the Form I-9 with the 10/21/2019 version date.
The current edition of the Form I-9 can be found at the USCIS website.
This blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.