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Temporary I-9 Flexibility Set to Expire

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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.

Filed under:Form I-9 Compliance