I-9’s Completed Remotely (Virtually) During COVID Will Now Require In-Person Updating
May 12, 2023
By Michael Burns, courtesy of SBAM-approved partner ASE
Last week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced effective July 31, 2023, remote verification of I-9 documentation will no longer be allowed.
Further, if a candidate’s I-9 was inspected virtually by video or by fax/email, those employers will now have to do a physical inspection of those I-9 documents and edit the I-9 forms to verify the candidate’s I-9 documents were physically inspected. Employers have until August 30, 2023, to complete this re-verification.
To update your I-9 Forms if originally done electronically during COVID you may need to work with the vendor of that system to implement an update.
The vendor should be able to help identify those I-9’s completed remotely that are in the system. The vendor should provide a workflow to update the I-9’s completed remotely and how to edit them with the physical inspection information that is required. Lastly the employer should confirm the electronic system tracks the completion of those updated remote I-9 forms.
When updating paper Form I-9’s, employers will start by determining upon re-verification if the employee is presenting the same document as they did virtually. If they are the same document(s) the employer will note that in the Additional Information section of the form stating, “Documents Physically Examined”. The date of the inspection should be noted along with the initials and date to the comment.
If the documents presented are different than the ones presented virtually, the employer can do one of two things:
- Complete a new Section 2 and note “Documents Physically Examined”, as with the review of the same documents, The note will be put in the Additional Information section with the date inspected and the new Section 2 will be attached to the original I-9 form.
- Alternatively, record the new document information in the Additional Information box or the original Section 2 and put ‘Documents Physically Examined” with the date of the inspection and again also initial and date your edit comment.
Another situation that may arise when conducting the physical examination of I-9 documents is if the person who performed the virtual/remote inspection is different from the one that is doing the physical inspection. The US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises that they prefer a new Section 2 be completed so the attestation is consistent with the certification. The employer may also have the new person doing the I-9 indicate the date of physical examination and also put their full name and title in the Additional Information field on the form.
More information on COVID-19 policies can be obtained at the USCIS site Questions and Answers Related to COVID -19.