New Mandatory Form I-9 and Remote Verification Procedures
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced a new, streamlined Form I-9 that employers should use beginning August 1, 2023 to verify the employment eligibility of new hires. In conjunction with this announcement, the Department of Homeland Security issued a rule that continues to allow for remote verification of I-9 documentation (which started during the COVID-19 pandemic) in certain instances.
New Form I-9. The new Form I-9 will be available on August 1, 2023 on uscis.gov. Employers may continue to use the current Form I-9 (edition date 10/21/19) until October 31, 2023; after that date, they are required to use the new form or risk monetary penalties. As the USCIS notes, the revised Form I-9:
- Reduces Sections 1 and 2 to a single-sided sheet;
- Is designed to be a fillable form on tablets and mobile devices;
- Moves the Section 1 Preparer/Translator Certification area to a separate, standalone supplement that employers can provide to employees when necessary;
- Moves Section 3, Reverification and Rehire, to a standalone supplement that employers can print if or when rehire occurs or reverification is required;
- Revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include some acceptable receipts as well as guidance and links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation;
- Reduces Form instructions from 15 pages to 8 pages; and
- Includes a checkbox allowing employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under a DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination.
Remote Verification Process. As for the verification process itself, employers may recall that, prior to the pandemic, they were required to examine Form I-9 documents in person, even for employees working remotely. During the pandemic, however, employers who were operating remotely were permitted to inspect the verification documents remotely (by video link, fax or email), while obtaining and retaining copies of the documents within three business days. They were also supposed to conduct in-person re-verification of the documents following the end of the COVID-19 National Emergency – the in-person review deadline has been announced as August 30, 2023.
The new DHS rule allows certain employers to remotely examine Form I-9 documents if they meet the following criteria: be enrolled in E-Verify, examine and retain copies of all documents, conduct a live video interaction with the employee, and create an E-Verify case if the employee is a new hire.
As to employees who were remotely verified during the pandemic, DHS will permit certain employers – those who were participating in E-Verify and created a case for those employees – to use this new verification process to satisfy the physical document examination requirement by August 30. Those employers who were not enrolled in E-Verify during the pandemic, however, must comply with the physical examination requirement.