September 9, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Extend I-9 Flexibility to the end of 2021

In response to the change in work practices resulting from Covid-19, ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) implemented a flexible I-9 policy enabling the remote verification of an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents. This policy only applies to employers operating completely remotely. An in-person verification is still required if the employee has a physical presence at the workplace.

Furthermore, employees hired on or after April 1, 2021 and working remotely due to Covid-19 related precautions, are temporarily exempt from the physical I-9 verification requirements until either they take up non-remote working conditions on a regular, consistent or predictable basis or until the extension of the flexible requirements expires.

For those who continue to operate remotely, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely via video link, fax or email, and retain copies of the documents. The employer should write “Remote inspection completed on [insert date]" in the Section 2 Additional Information box or Section 3 for reverifications once the remote inspection is completed.

All employees who completed the remote I-9 document verification process must report to their employer within 3 business days of their return to normal operations to complete the in-person verification of their documents. Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information box and “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9, or to section 3 as appropriate.

When this flexible policy ends, employers must conduct the in-person document inspection of all I-9s that were previously completed using virtual verification and this must take place within 3 days of resuming normal operations.

For further information on remote I-9 employment verification processes in the U.S., please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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