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President Biden Takes Steps to Bolster Family Unity and Boost the Economy

On Tuesday, July 18, 2024, President Biden announced several actions to more efficiently apply for permanent lawful residence and certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas. The action came on the 12th anniversary of President Obama’s announcement of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided legal status for roughly 800,000 young people.

Providing Stability to American Families

President Biden’s announced action will streamline how noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens can apply for permanent legal residence and eliminate the need for them to leave the country and wait to be processed abroad. Ultimately, this provides a straightforward path to lawful permanent residence for noncitizens who marry Americans while limiting family disruption and unnecessary stress.
Requests to be processed through the new action will be considered on a case-by-case basis. However, to be considered an individual must:
  • Be present in the United States without admission or parole
  • Have been continuously present in the United States for at least 10 years as of June 17, 2024
  • Have a legally valid marriage to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024
  • Not pose a threat to public safety or security
Noncitizen children can also be considered for lawful permanent residence through this action.  To qualify, they must:
  • Be physically present in the United States without admission
  • Have a qualifying stepchild relationship to a U.S. citizen as of June 17, 2024
The average individual who qualifies for the process has lived in the U.S. for 23 years, and according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), roughly 500,000 noncitizen spouses in the U.S. could be eligible for the program, plus another approximately 50,000 children of these spouses.

Easing Employment Visa Process

President Biden also took steps to make it easier for certain individuals—including DACA recipients and undocumented noncitizens who have graduated from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education—to obtain certain employment-based nonimmigrant visas. According to DHS, this action will “give U.S. employers increased confidence that they can hire the talent they need, and that they will be able to quickly get to work.”

Promoting Families and Strengthening the Economy

In the end, President Biden’s recent actions will eliminate a cumbersome hurdle many face on the path to lawful permanent residence and help keep families together. It also opens the doors to employment for many talented and skilled individuals and injects valuable workers into a tight labor market.

GoffWilson Immigration

For more than three decades, GoffWilson has been helping businesses and families navigate complex and ever-changing immigration laws. If you have a question about President Biden’s most recent immigration action and how it affects you, or any other immigration inquiries, contact us. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion!

A Succesful H-1B Season Starts Now

The H-1B registration window for fiscal year 2025 (FY25) will soon open and proactive employers are already beginning to strategize and prepare for the opportunity to secure one of these highly sought-after nonimmigrant visas. With just 85,000 H-1B visas available—65,000 available to applicants with bachelor’s degrees and higher and another 20,000 open to those with at least a U.S. master’s degree—demand greatly outstrips supply. Consider that last year, USCIS received a record-breaking ≈781,000 applications.

Before the H-1B Process Begins

Employers interested in obtaining one of these valuable visas will want to ensure everything is ready—applicants have been identified, detailed job descriptions developed, and prevailing wage determined—in advance of the opening of H1B registration. Working with an experienced immigration attorney early in the H1-B process can lay the foundation for a successful petition.

H-1B Registration Process

USCIS hasn’t announced the timeline for FY25’s H-1B registration and lottery process, however, it’s expected to be similar to those of the past few years.

Registration Window

The registration window is expected to open in early March. During this period, employers must electronically register and pay a registration fee for every applicant they sponsor. The registration requires employees to submit basic information about their company as well as the worker seeking an H1-B visa.
Working with an immigration attorney, such as GoffWilson, can help ensure timely registrations and avoid errors. Waiting until the last minute to register puts you at risk of something silly like an internet problem or website crash shutting you out of the lottery while even small mistakes can cause delays or denials.

Lottery Process

If the number of H-1B petitions exceeds the allotted 85,000 H-1B visas—as it has in the past 10+ years—USCIS holds a lottery sometime in late March or early April. H-1B visa “winners” are chosen at random—the first 65,000 are selected from all H-1B applicants and the following 20,000 are chosen only from applicants with a U.S. master’s degree or higher.

How Employers Can Prepare for H-1B Season

One of the best things an employer can do to prepare for the H-1B registration and lottery process is to work with a knowledgeable immigration attorney, who will evaluate an employee’s H-1B eligibility. If they qualify, the immigration attorney will prepare their registration and file it on the appropriate date.
If a registration is selected in the lottery, an immigration attorney will prepare and file a formal H-1B petition with, and respond to any further requests from, USCIS. In the end, an immigration attorney like GoffWilson can save employers a lot of time, energy, and headaches.

Who to Sponsor for an H-1B Visa?

Most H-1B registrations are for foreign workers who’ve never had H-1B status before. However, there are some situations where a potential H-1B applicant may be employed under another type of temporary work authorization or on an H-1B visa for an uncapped employer (like an institution of higher education or government research organization). For example:
  • Students engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must obtain an H-1B visa to remain eligible for employment in the U.S. after their OPT or CPT period expires.
  • Individuals currently holding H-1B status, and employed by a cap-exempt employer, who are now looking for job opportunities with a cap-subject employer.
  • Individuals currently in nonimmigrant work statuses like TN, H-3, H-2, O-1, and J-1, but who are required to transition their status to H-1B.

GoffWilson Immigration

GoffWilson strongly advises employers to begin the H-1B application process as soon as possible. We've prepared thousands of H-1B visa applications in our 30+ years of practice and can help employers develop an H-1B strategy—ensuring everything from identifying the right individuals for the H-1B visa to meeting critical deadlines.
GoffWilson exclusively practices immigration law and has guided a multitude of employers through the H-1B process over our decades of practice—from registration to filing a complete petition. Contact GoffWilson today to discover how we can help set you up for success this H-1B season.

DHS Extends and Redesignates Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the extension and redesignation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuela for 18 months on September 20, 2023. The new extension applies only to Venezuelan nationals residing in the U.S. before July 31, 2023.

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

TPS is granted to migrants from designated countries considered unsafe to return to and allows them to live and work in the U.S. for a temporary but extendable period. TPS is usually granted in 18-month periods and can be extended indefinitely. However, TPS doesn’t provide a pathway to residence. Venezuela is one of seven countries that the U.S. has given TPS status. The other six are:
  • El Salvador
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Sudan

What to Know About the Recent TPS Extension for Venezuela

Eligible individuals who have not yet filed for TPS status may submit an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) during the initial registration period. DHS will provide further information about timelines, eligibility criteria, and procedures in an upcoming Federal Register notice. Applicants may also apply for TPS-related Employee Authorization Documents (EAD) and travel authorization at that time.
Pending applications under the previous TPS designation for Venezuela will continue to be processed. There is no need for those with open applications to resubmit forms. Individuals with pending EADs may be eligible for an automatic extension of work authorization while the renewal application is pending. The USCIS has created a calculator for individuals to track their extensions.

What the TPS Extension for Venezuela Means for Employers

The TPS extension for Venezuela is good news for employers, particularly those in fields with labor shortages. Leaders across the nation have advocated for the extension and allowing eligible Venezuelans to begin contributing to the community and economy.
According to DHS, there are currently ~242,700 TPS beneficiaries under Venezuela’s existing TPS designation. An additional ~472,000 nationals of Venezuela may be eligible under the redesignation of Venezuela. In other words, about a half-million potential employees will soon be entering the labor market.

I-9 Compliance for Employers with TPS Employees

It’s critical that employers know how to properly complete the Form I-9 process for new and existing TPS employees. According to I-9 Central, when an employee presents an EAD whose original “Card Expires” date has passed, employers should determine if it is a TPS EAD that has been automatically extended. Employers must look at the “Category” section on the expired EAD: “A12” or “C19” indicate TPS. Employers must accept the EAD as still valid if it has been automatically extended by DHS. Employers must re-verify on or before the extended expiration date and follow the instructions in the I-9 Handbook, M-274. It is important to note that the extended expiration dates may be further extended, so it is important to check the USCIS website for any updates.

GoffWilson Immigration

From questions about an individual’s TPS status to how the extension of TPS status for Venezuela affects a business, GoffWilson has the answers. GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and is a valuable partner to individuals and businesses navigating the complex and ever-evolving immigration laws. Whether you’re interested in learning about TPS status or how it affects I-9 compliance, GoffWilson can help. Contact us today for assistance.
Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.

What Employers Need to Know About the Latest Form I-9

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new Form I-9 with a host of improvements, features, and guidelines designed to streamline the process and make it easier for employers to understand, implement, and ultimately remain in I-9 compliance.

What is Form I-9?

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired to work in the United States. Employers are required to complete an I-9 for every worker they employ within three days of the employee’s start date and retain the form for a set amount of time. To remain I-9 compliant, employers must examine an employee’s documentation to ensure that they’re genuine and relate to the person presenting them.

What’s New With the Latest Form I-9?

Notable changes to Form I-9 include improved mobile compatibility—it’s designed to be filled out electronically on tablets and mobile devices and is downloadable. The new Form I-9 also features shorter sections and a dramatic reduction in instructions (going from 15 pages to 8). One of the most exciting developments of the new Form I-9 is the ability for some employers to examine documents remotely.

Who is Eligible to Remotely Verify I-9 Documents?

Along with changes to Form I-9 itself, USCIS will now allow eligible employers an alternative means of verifying documents—providing them with a remote option. At the moment, the alternative procedure is only available to employers enrolled in the E-verify program who are in good standing and in compliance with all the program’s requirements.
One stipulation employers taking advantage of the option to remotely verify documents must be aware of is that they must consistently follow a procedure for verifying documents. That is, they must follow the same practice for every employee at a worksite. 
For example, a business can either make all of its employees have their documents verified in person, or it can require physical document verification for onsite employees and allow remote document verification for remote employees. The key is that document verification of all employees at a worksite (either a physical location or remote) is managed in a consistent manner.
Whatever document verification policy an employer establishes, it’s critical that they don’t “adopt such a practice for a discriminatory purpose or treat employees differently based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin.”

What Remote Verification Documents Need to be Retained?

Another helpful component of the new Form I-9 is a checkbox for indicating an employee’s verification documentation was examined using a new authorized alternative procedure.
Like onsite verification, remote I-9 verification must be completed within three days of an employee’s first date of employment. Employees need to transmit a copy of their verification documents to the employer. Employees then must present the same documents for examination during a live video interaction.
After verifying the employment eligibility documentation, employers must indicate on the new Form I-9 that they verified the documents through the authorized alternative procedure and the date they did it. They must also retain “clear and legible” copies of the documents the employee presented for remote/virtual inspection.

When Does the New Form I-9 Go Into Effect?

Employers may begin using the new Form I-9 on August 1, 2023. However, they can continue to use the old Form I-9—the one with an October 11, 2022 expiration date—through October 31, 2023. As of November 1, 2023, employers can only use the new Form I-9.

GoffWilson Immigration Law

While the changes brought by the new Form I-9 are designed to make the process more straightforward, they also are a shift from the normal course of business. Whether your business needs assistance implementing E-Verify or remote verification or simply wants to ensure it’s in I-9 compliance, GoffWilson can help.
GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and has long been a leader in I-9 compliance. We offer everything from comprehensive audits to client workshops to public trainings and seminars. In fact, we’re planning a live I-9 presentation in September—stay tuned for updates.

DHS and ICE Announce the End of Temporary I-9 Flexibility

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced that the temporary flexibilities extended to employers regarding I-9 document verification during the COVID-19 pandemic are set to end on July 31, 2023. Employers will have 30 days—until August 30, 2023—to complete an in-person verification of all employees who were virtually verified under the temporary flexibilities.

What Employers Need to Know

After numerous extensions, the termination of temporary I-9 flexibility serves as a wake-up call for the Human Resources community, as employers have just 30 days after the extension ends to physically review documents—a relatively tight time frame, particularly for employers that have been relying on the policy for more than three years.
With an in-person inspection deadline looming in late August, it’s imperative that employers begin the project as soon as possible. Employers will need to identify employees who require updates and develop a strategy for bringing them into compliance.
Because of the extended period of time between the implementation of the temporary I-9 flexibility and its sunsetting, employers will face a handful of issues not commonly encountered. To offer guidance, USCIS has published a question-and-answer page and a page of examples for tackling I-9s in need of updating. Some situations to be aware of:
  • Same Documents: If an employee presents the same documents they did at the virtual inspection, employers should note in the Additional Information field “Documents Physically Examined” with the date of inspection and the initials of the inspector.
  • New I-9 Inspector: If the person inspecting the verification documents in person is different from the person who inspected the documents remotely, employers can either:
    • Record the date the documents were physically examined and the inspector’s full name and title in the Additional Information field; or
    • Complete a new Section 2 and attach it to the original I-9.
  • Different Documents: If an employee presents different documents at their in-person inspection from their virtual inspection employers can either:
    • Complete a new Section 2 and note “Documents Physically Examined” with the date of inspection in the Additional Information section and attach it to the original I-9; or
    • Record the new information on the existing I-9 in the Additional Information section with the date of the inspection and initials of the inspector.

A Brief History of Temporary I-9 Flexibilities

Temporary I-9 flexibility began in March 2020 in response to increased remote employment, stay-at-home orders, and other complications brought about by COVID-19. It allowed employers to inspect I-9 documentation remotely rather than in person with the expectation that employers would conduct a physical inspection within three days of returning to normal business operations. The flexibility was originally applied to just employers and workplaces that were 100% remote, but roughly a year later the policy was expanded to cover a broader range of businesses. All told, temporary I-9 flexibility was extended 14 times before its termination.

GoffWilson Immigration Law

GoffWilson is a long-time leader in I-9 compliance and a valuable partner to businesses of all sizes. Over our 30+ years in practice, we’ve audited thousands of I-9s, provided both public workshops and private seminars, and helped employers develop and implement strategies for remaining I-9 compliant.
If you have a question about how your business should proceed with processing I-9s in light of the expiration of I-9 flexibility or need assistance forming a plan to bring your business within compliance, we can help! Contact GoffWilson today—immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.


Keep Up to Date with the Latest Immigration News

We’re only a few weeks into the new year, but a lot has already happened in immigration—and it’s only going to get busier as we get closer to H-1B filing season.  

H-1B Registration Period Announced  

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced the H-1B cap registration period for the fiscal year 2024—it will open at noon Eastern on March 1, 2023, and run through noon Eastern on March 1, 2023. This is a critical moment for employers looking to secure one of these highly sought-after visas. Just 65,000 H-1B visas are issued annually with an additional 20,000 made available to foreign nationals possessing a U.S. master’s degree or higher. 
It’s been roughly a decade since the number of H-1B applicants hasn’t exceeded the number of available visas and a lottery (known as the H-1B lottery) was used to select recipients. In 2023, USCIS received 483,927 H1-B registrations, the highest number in the history of the program. It’s anticipated that applicants will outnumber visas this year as well, and a lottery will once again be needed. This makes it essential that employers file their H-1B petitions within the registration period—the earlier the better to avoid any last-minute issues.  
Employers and authorized representatives are required to file H-1B cap petitions electronically through USCIS’s online system, There is a $10 registration fee for each petition filed on behalf of a beneficiary and due to the likely large number of registrations, the daily credit card transaction limit will temporarily increase from $24,999.99 to $39,999.99. 
H-1B season moves quickly, but with proper planning and a sound strategy, employers can ensure it also moves smoothly. Now is the time for employers to begin identifying prospective H-1B candidates, such as students working in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curricular Practical Training (CPT) programs who will require an H-1B visa to continue employment in the U.S. once their OPT or CPT expires, or candidates with H-1B status for a cap-exempt employer seeking to transition to opportunities with cap-subject employers. 

USCIS Announces Newly Designed Permanent Resident Cards and EADs

On January 30th, USCIS began issuing redesigned Permanent Resident Cards (also known as Green Cards) and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). USCIS redesigns the cards every three to five years to mitigate the threat of counterfeiting and fraud—the current cards were introduced in May 2017.
The newly released cards incorporate a host of features designed to increase security and resist tampering, including:
  • Detailed artwork
  • Tactile printing better integrated with artwork
  • Enhanced optically variable ink 
  • Holographic images on the front and back of cards
  • A layer-reveal feature with a partial window on the back photo box
  • Data fields relocated from prior card versions 
The launch of new cards doesn’t invalidate current cards—they remain valid until their expiration date unless otherwise noted. In fact, some Green Cards and EADs may still feature the existing format, as USCIS uses up its remaining cardstock. Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date, and while these generally remain valid, USCIS is encouraging holders of these older cards to apply for a new replacement card to prevent fraud or tampering if the card is ever lost or stolen. 

GoffWilson Immigration Law 

GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and is a valuable partner to both businesses and individuals. Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can help your business form a strategy for H-1B season and provide assistance with the preparation and submission of this important visa, or if you simply have a question about what the release of new Green Cards and EADs means for you. 
At GoffWilson, immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.

DHS Extends TPS Status for Beneficiaries from Six Countries

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to eligible beneficiaries from six countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Sudan, Honduras, and Nepal. TPS status for the aforementioned beneficiaries was set to expire on December 31, 2022, however, with the extension, they will now retain TPS status through June 30, 2024. 

Who Is Not Covered by the Recent Extension of TPS?

One of the most important facts to know about the recent extension of TPS is that it doesn’t apply to all the recipients from Haiti and Sudan; rather, it only applies to beneficiaries of the 2011 Haiti designation and the 2013 Sudan designation. Individuals granted TPS under the 2011 Haiti designation and the 2013 Sudan designation may also apply under the more recent 2021 Haiti and 2022 Sudan designation. 
Anyone from Haiti who has continuously resided in the U.S. since July 29, 2021, is eligible to apply for the new TPS designation—the registration period closes on February 3, 2023.
Anyone from Sudan who has continuously resided in the U.S. since March 1, 2022, is eligible to apply for the new TPS designation—the registration period closes on October 19, 2023.
Those under the 2011 Haiti and 2013 Sudan designations may want to consider applying under the more recent designation. It’s advised that they speak with an immigration attorney to discuss their specific situation before making any decisions. 

Automatic Extension

The recent extension also automatically extends the expiration of all TPS-related documentation, including: 
  • Employment Authorization Documents (EADs)
  • Form I-797
  • Notices of Action 
  • Forms I-94
  • Arrival/Departure Records
More simply, those covered under the latest TPS extension are not required to reregister to maintain their status. 

What is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?

TPS is granted by DHS to eligible foreign-born individuals who are unable to return to their home country safely due to circumstances such as an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, or epidemic. TPS holders are able to live and work in the U.S. for a designated period of time, although it does not provide a pathway to permanent residence. DHS must periodically review TPS status and can choose to extend it for periods of six to 18 months, provided conditions in the country continue to meet the requirements for designation. 

GoffWilson Immigration

Whether you’re a business that has questions about how the extension of TPS status affects I-9 compliance or an individual trying to understand what this means for your unique situation, GoffWilson has the answers. GoffWilson solely practices immigration law and has been helping businesses and individuals navigate complex and ever-changing immigration laws for more than three decades. Contact GoffWilson today and learn how we can help you.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have once again extended their guidance that increases flexibility in Form I-9 compliance. The temporary guidance was set to expire on October 31, 2022, but will continue for another nine months and will now expire on July 31, 2023. This is the 14th time the guidance has been extended since its implementation in March 2020. 


What You Need to Know About Increased I-9 Flexibility 

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. Employers are required to complete an I-9 form for every worker they employ. For I-9 compliance, employers must examine an employee’s documentation to ensure that they’re genuine and related to the person presenting them. 
Normally, I-9 documentation is inspected in person, but in response to the stay-at-home orders and rise of remote work brought on by COVID-19, the rules were loosened to allow remote inspection via video link, fax, or email. Initially, only fully remote workplaces and employees were covered by the guidance, but its scope was broadened in April 2021 to cover employees working in a remote setting. The increased breadth of the guidance only applied to employees onboarded after its implementation. 
While the latest guidance extends the relaxed I-9 rules through next July, it also encourages employers to begin, “at their discretion,” in-person identity and employment eligibility verification for employees onboarded remotely. It also reminds employers to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for updates about when the extensions end and normal operations will resume.

History of Form I-9 Flexibility 

Increased I-9 flexibility is well-traveled ground for employers by now and is a topic we’ve covered extensively on the blawg:

Other Important I-9 Information 

Since Form I-9 is on the top of employers’ minds, it’s worth reiterating that, earlier in October, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that employers should continue using the current Form I-9—despite its October 31, 2022 expiration date—until further notice. 

GoffWilson Immigration Law

GoffWilson Immigration Law is a leader in I-9 compliance and offers businesses valuable services ranging from comprehensive I-9 audits to providing informative I-9 training and seminars. GoffWilson can help businesses navigate the ever-evolving regulations regarding Form I-9 and develop a strategy for when in-person verification resumes. Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can help your business remain I-9 compliant. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.

October has been a busy month for immigration—over the past few days, there have been announcements regarding both the H-2B Visa and Form I-9.

DHS Supplements H-2B Cap with Additional Visas

On October 12, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL) announced it would make an additional 64,716 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas available for the 2023 fiscal year—roughly doubling the number of available H-2B visas. This is great news for businesses struggling to fill temporary positions and the second time this year that DHS has supplemented the H-2B visa cap; DHS and DOL made 35,000 additional H-2B visas available for the second half of the 2022 fiscal year.
Of the 64,716 new H-2B visas made available, 20,000 are allocated to workers from Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The Biden administration has pledged to expand legal pathways as an alternative to irregular migration, ensuring migration is a choice rather than a necessity. The remaining 44,716 H-2B visas are available to certain returning H-2B workers.
The H-2B visa program allows employers to hire foreign workers for temporary, non-agricultural positions in the U.S. H-2B workers are employed in a variety of industries, including construction, landscaping, hospitality, tourism, and seafood processing. Businesses that employ H-2B workers must meet specific requirements, most notably, that there are not enough U.S. workers to perform the jobs and that employing H-2B workers will not negatively affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. 
In addition to announcing supplemental H-2B visas, the creation of an “H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce” was also announced. The intent of the task force is to protect vulnerable H-2B workers from exploitation and ensure employers don’t use the H-2B program to avoid hiring U.S. workers.

Form I-9 Announcement

If you’ve recently looked at the current I-9 form, you’ve likely noticed that it has an October 31, 2022 expiration date. Despite its expiration date, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on October 11, 2022, that employers should continue using the current form—even after its expiration date—until further notice. Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment eligibility of individuals hired in the U.S., including both citizens and noncitizens.  

GoffWilson Immigration Law

GoffWilson Immigration Law solely practices immigration and is a valuable partner to businesses employing a global workforce. From help securing much-needed H-2B visas to I-9 services such as training and seminars and comprehensive audits, GoffWilson helps businesses take advantage of the worldwide workforce and remain in compliance with ever-changing and complex immigration laws. Contact GoffWilson today to discover we can help you hire, secure, and employ talent from around the globe. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion!

The Department of Homeland Security has announced another extension of its guidance increasing the flexibility of rules related to Form I-9 compliance due to COVID-19. Increased I-9 flexibility will now run through October 31, 2022. This marks the 13th time the DHS has extended the relaxed rules around Form I-9 since it issued the original guidance on March 20, 2020. 

Form I-9 

Employers in the U.S. are required by federal law to complete Form I-9 for every worker they hire. For an I-9 to be complete and in compliance, an employer must examine the employee’s documentation to ensure that it appears genuine and related to the person presenting it. 

Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility 

The main function of the increased Form I-9 flexibility was a loosening of the rules related to document verification. The guidance allows employers to postpone in-person document inspection and inspect documents remotely—via video link, fax, or email—so long as they note the remote inspection and re-examine the documents in person within three days of resuming normal operations. 
Because of the longevity of the extension, it’s possible for an employee to have been onboarded remotely and left the employer without ever having their documents inspected in person. In these cases, employers are able to memorialize the reason for the lack of an in-person examination in a memorandum kept with the employee’s Form I-9. 
The guidance originally only covered workplaces and employers that were working completely remote due to the pandemic. In April 2021, the guidance was expanded to better accommodate employers slowly returning to in-person operations by allowing them to inspect I-9 documentation remotely for out-of-office employees. The expansion wasn’t retroactive and only applied to employees onboarded after its implementation. 

History of Increased I-9 Flexibility

As mentioned, above the latest extension marks the 13th time the DHS has extended the guidance—something GoffWilson has covered extensively:

Increased I-9 Flexibility Going Forward 

It’s hard to speculate on the future of increased I-9 flexibility. On one hand, many offices are returning to in-person operations; on the other, COVID-19 is still wreaking havoc in many places across the world. And with the guidance having already been extended 13 times, it’s reasonable to assume it will once again be extended when the time comes. 
DHS and ICE encourage employers to monitor their websites for updates on when the extension of I-9 flexibility will be terminated and normal I-9 rules reinstated. 

GoffWilson Immigration Law 

GoffWilson is a trusted I-9 resource, having audited thousands of Form I-9s and 
assisted businesses of all sizes to remain in compliance throughout our 30+ years of practicing immigration law. We offer a host of I-9 services to employers ranging from comprehensive company audits to public training seminars
GoffWilson recommends that employers take a proactive approach to their I-9s and have a plan in place for when DHS ends increased I-9 flexibility. GoffWilson can help you form a strategy to remain I-9 compliant and offer solutions to both the short-term challenges facing employers, like the guidance increasing the flexibility around document inspection, and long-term issues, like incorrectly filling out form I-9. 
Contact GoffWilson today to learn how we can help ensure your business remains I-9 compliant. Immigration isn’t just what we do, it’s our passion.
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