Recent updates concerning Form I-9 require action from employers to ensure compliance. The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 21, 2023, that a new Form I-9 will replace the current version of the form.
Additionally, previous COVID-19 flexibilities allowed employers to use remote document verification options to complete the Form I-9. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have recently announced important updates regarding these flexibilities.
What has changed?
- July 31, 2023: The temporary COVID-19 flexibilities allowing remote I-9 document verification options will end. E-Verify employers will be allowed to remotely examine I-9 documents beginning August 1, 2023.
- August 1, 2023: Employers should use the new Form I-9. Employers will be allowed to use the older version of the form through October 31, 2023, before being subject to penalties.
- August 30, 2023: All I-9 documents previously completed using remote document verification options must undergo an in-person physical document inspection and be completed.
What does this mean for employers?
New Form I-9: All employers should download and begin using the new Form I-9 by October 31, 2023. The USCIS will publish the revised version of the form on August 1, 2023.
Remote document verification: No action is required if your organization has never used remote document verification options to complete the Form I-9. The DHS recently published a notice stating E-Verify employers will be allowed to remotely examine I-9 documents starting August 1, 2023, if they follow these steps:
- Be enrolled in E-Verify
- Use live video to remotely examine I-9 documents
- Annotate the Form I-9
- Old form (dated 10/21/2019): In the "Additional Information" field, write "Alternative procedure."
- New form (dated 08/01/2023): Check the box in the "Additional Information" field.
- Keep copies of I-9 documents that have been remotely verified with the respective employee's Form I-9
- Create a case in E-Verify for the employee
If you are not an E-Verify employer and currently use remote verification options, you must stop by the July 31, 2023, deadline. For any Form I-9 completed using remote document verification, you must physically inspect I-9 documents for those employees by August 30, 2023. Additionally, you must annotate/amend the corresponding Form I-9 to include the following information:
- A notation that the documents were physically examined
- The date of the inspection
- The name of the individual who conducted the inspection
Frequently Asked Questions about remote document verification
What if the employee was hired using remote document verification but is no longer employed?
The USCIS has advised that in these situations, you include an explanation with the date of the employee’s separation in the “Additional Information” box on the Form I-9.
What if an employee refuses to provide documents or meet for the inspection?
The USCIS has advised, “An employer cannot retain an employee who the employer knows is not authorized to work in the United States or that does not fulfill Form I-9 documentary requirements. This includes presenting documentation for in-person physical examination. Employers are required to complete Form I-9 for all new hires, including the requirement to physically examine identity and work authorization documents”.
If our organization operates remotely and has/will not return to working in an in-person environment, is an inspection still required?
Yes. Employers have until August 30, 2023, to complete physical inspections.
If an employee works in a different location (i.e., state, country), are there alternative options to the in-person inspection?
Employers may designate an authorized representative to complete the inspection, but inspections must still be conducted in person.
Are there examples available to provide guidance on the completion of annotations to the Form I-9?
The USCIS has provided examples of a completed Form I-9 related to temporary COVID-19 policies. You can find these examples at the USCIS website here.
It can be challenging to ensure compliance with rapidly changing requirements. Failing to do so correctly can open your organization up to potential issues with various agencies, potential inspections/audits, and costly fines for compliance violations.
If you have questions regarding regulation changes or conducting I-9 inspections and annotations, contact Carrie Cox using the information below.
NOTE: Any advice contained in this material is not intended or written to be tax advice, and cannot be relied upon as such, nor can it be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed by the IRS or states, or promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.
HR & Org. Development Services
Carrie has experience in a variety of human resource functions, including labor laws, compensation structures, employee classification, benefits administration, performance management and human resource best practices. She has served clients in a number of industries, including manufacturing, construction, banking, government, and not-for-profits. Carrie is a member of the national and local chapters of the Society of Human Resource Professionals (SHRM) and serves on the Wichita chapter board of directors.
She is a certified practitioner for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Hay Group’s Emotional and Social Competency Inventory. Her additional certifications include Certified Professional Coach from the Academy of Creative Coaching, Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute, and SHRM-CP designated by the SHRM.