The Department of Homeland Security announced that employers and workplaces that are continuing to operate remotely will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence through May 31, 2021.
Employers must still inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “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.
Once normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification, must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “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.
In addition, employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, and working exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions are temporarily exempt from the I-9 physical inspection requirements until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.