In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the DHS announced it will relax the longstanding requirement that employers physically evaluate employee-provided documentation needed to complete Form I-9s. The relaxed guidelines are in effect 60 days from the March 20 announcement date, or three days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first. This provision only applies to employers and workplaces operating remotely.
Employees must still complete Section 1 of Form 1-9 on or before the first day of employment. Employers inspecting Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) must retain copies in whatever form the document was viewed within three days of hire and enter “COVID-19” in the Section 2 Additional Information field as the reason for the physical inspection delay.
Employers who adopt this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding policy for each employee. Once normal operations resume, all employees who used the remote verification process, must report to their employer within three business days for in-person document verification. Once physical inspection occurs the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the inspection date in the same Additional Information field, or to Section 3 as appropriate.