Earlier this week we received great news on the virtual examination of documents for I-9 purposes. The USCIS just announced that they will be publishing a revised form I-9 and accompanying regulations that will allow employers to establish procedures to examine documents remotely on a permanent basis and would exempt qualified employers from the physical reexamination for those previously completed I-9s.
For an employer to be eligible for this, the employer must:
- Be enrolled in E-Verify and in good standing;
- Complete the E-Verify tutorial that includes fraud awareness and antidiscrimination training (this should be done by all the employer’s users of E-Verify);
- Offer the procedure to all employees in the site where it implements the procedure, except that an employer may choose to limit this to employees who work exclusively remotely or on a hybrid schedule;
- Examine copies (front and back, if the document is two-sided) of the documents or an acceptable receipt to ensure that the documentation presented reasonably appears to be genuine;
- Conduct a live video interaction with the individual presenting the document(s) to ensure that the documentation reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the individual. The employee must first transmit a copy of the document(s) to the employer (per the step above) and then present the same document(s) during the live video interaction;
- Indicate on the Form I-9, by completing the corresponding box, that an alternative procedure was used to examine documentation to complete Section 2 or for reverification, as applicable;
- Retain clear and legible copy of the documentation (front and back if the documentation is two-sided);
This new procedure takes effect on August 1, however employers who are eligible for the new procedure may use this procedure in relation to those I-9s that were completed based on COVID-19 flexibilities. To take advantage of this new procedure in relation to the I-9s completed during the previous period, employers must:
- Have been enrolled in E-Verify at the time they performed a remote examination of an employee’s Form I-9 documentation for Section 2 or reverification while using the COVID-19 flexibilities;
- Created an E-Verify case for that employee (except for reverification); and
- Performed the remote inspection between March 20, 2020 and July 31, 2023, can use the alternative procedure to satisfy the required physical examination of the employee’s documents for that Form I-9. Such employers should not create a new case in E-Verify. All employers that use the alternative procedure instead of physical examination as described above must follow the steps of the alternative procedure and add “alternative procedure” with the date of examination (i.e., the date the employer performed a live video interaction as required under the alternative procedure) to the Section 2 Additional Information field on the Form I-9 or in Section 3, as appropriate.
We are pleased to see these changes from USCIS, which more closely mirror the realities of a post-pandemic workplace. Please contact us with any questions at email@example.com.