New Procedure for Remote I-9 Document Inspections
Remote I-9 document inspections will be available to certain employers on a permanent basis from August 1, 2023, under new provisions announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The DHS-authorized alternative procedure allows employers that are enrolled in E-Verify with ‘good standing’ to carry out checks remotely for new employees starting on or after August 1, 2023.
This will entail the employer conducting the check on a remote basis using a video call, rather than in-person, after the employee has provided a copy of the document(s) for inspection.
The new procedure is available for qualifying employers as an alternative, who can still opt to conduct in-person, physical document inspections.
What is the I-9 form?
US employers are required by law to verify the identity and work authorization status of all new hires, regardless of their nationality or citizenship. For each new employee, the employer (or their authroized representative) has to undertake a check of certain types of documentation as presented by the employee, assess whether the documents appear genuine and relating to the employee, and then complete the Form I-9.
The employee must also complete section 1 of Form I-9.
New I-9 Form
In light of the updated rules, a revised I-9 form is being issued for use from August 1, 2023.
Following a transition period, the new version of the I-9 form will become mandatory from November 1, 2023 for all employers.
How does the remote employment verification procedure work in practice?
To be eligible to avail of the alternative, remote check procedure, the employer must be enrolled in the E-Verify program with ‘good standing’.
To carry out the check, the employer must hold a live video call with the individual within three days of them starting their employment.
The employee has to submit their I-9 documents in advance of the call, and must also present these documents during the call.
The employer must then review the front and reverse of the submitted documents while on the video call, to check that they relate to the person who has presented them and that they reasonably appear to be genuine.
The employer should then note on Section 2 of the Form I-9 (or for reverification) that an alternative review procedure was used.
Clear copies of the reviewed documents must be retained by the employer for their records, as evidence that the employment eligibility verification process was followed.
If the employee is a new hire, the employer should also create an E-Verify case for them.
COVID remote reviews
Under temporary, emergency COVID rules, employers have been permitted to complete I-9 checks with remote or virtual document reviews. This provision is due to end on July 31, 2023, with a grace period for document inspection until August 30, 2023.
Employers that do not qualify for the alternative I-9 procedure must carry out in-person checks of physical documents.
NNU Immigration’s US attorneys are specialists in US immigration compliance and applications.
For expert guidance on meeting your compliance duties as an employer, including questions about the new rules on I-9 document reviews, contact us.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.