The department of Homeland Security announced that it will defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification. Therefore, employers who are hiring telecommuters or other not physically present new hires due to COVID-19 physical proximity precautions will not be required to review employees’ identity and employment authorization documents in their physical presence.
The requirement to inspect I-9 Section 2 documents is still in effect, albeit remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.). Employers still must obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents within three business days to complete Section 2.
Employers should enter COVID-19 as the reason for the physical inspection delay in Section 2’s Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume. When the new normal resumes and documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the inspection date to Section 2’s additional information field or to Section 3 as appropriate.
This discretion remains in effect until May 19, 2020 (unless extended) OR within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first.
Employers verify remotely must provide documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.
This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9.