On December 15, 2021, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced a 120-day extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance that was initially granted on March 20, 2020. The temporary policy allowing employers to inspect Form I-9 documents remotely is extended until April 30, 2022.

The extension continues to apply the guidance previously issued for employees who were hired on or after April 1, 2021 and work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions. The extension temporarily exempts those employees from the physical inspection requirements associated with Form I-9 until they undertake non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis, or the extension of the flexibilities related to such requirements is terminated, whichever is earlier.

It is unclear whether the policy will be extended beyond the April 30, 2022 date. However, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has published a Request for Public Input in the Federal Register seeking employer feedback on the effects of remote document examinations conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to better understand the potential costs and benefits of offering a permanent option for remote examination of Form I-9 identity and employment eligibility documents. Employers are encouraged to submit written comments through the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov by December 27, 2021. All comments must include the Request for Public Input’s docket number: USCIS 2021–0022.

The Society for Human Resource Management has also been advocating for the agency to implement a permanent policy permitting remote I-9 inspection.

Carmody’s Labor & Employment team is available to discuss any questions regarding Form I-9, the temporary policy or any other questions employers may have.

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship.