The federal Department of Homeland Security announced it has extended until June 19, 2020, its temporarily relaxed standard regarding physical inspection of a new worker’s employment eligibility documents when completing the Form I-9. As we previously reported, Homeland Security relaxed the requirement for employers that are operating remotely and therefore unable to physically inspect documents during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) national emergency. The temporary measure had been set to expire on May 19, 2020.
Tips: During the pandemic, you’ll still need to complete the Form I-9 process within the same time frame as before. However, if employees responsible for reviewing Form I-9s are working from home, they may remotely visually inspect the documents via video link, fax, email, or other digital means. For new hires, write “COVID-19” in the “Additional Information” box in Section 2 on the form; for current employees whose documentation needs to be reverified, write “COVID-19” in the space along the side of Section 3 of the form.
Remember to notify employees in writing (at the time you remotely inspect their documents) that they'll be required to physically produce the documents once normal business operations resume. You must physically inspect those documents and update the Form I-9 accordingly, within three business days of when you resume operations. See our previous article for detailed instructions about remote inspection of Form I-9 documentation.