Most of our readers are aware of the fact that the COVID era policy which allowed employers to remotely examine documentation provided by employees for completing the form I-9 ended as of July 31, 2023. All employers will now have until August 30, 2023 to physically examine the I-9 documentation presented by the employees who were previously allowed to present their documentation remotely. Like everything else the government does, DHS and USCIS wanted to make the I-9 process fun for all. As a result, USCIS has issued a new I-9 form and DHS has established an alternative for review of I-9 documents in person.

The new I-9 form is considerably shorter than the old form. It is one page long and the instructions are eight pages instead of fifteen pages. Employers were allowed to start using the new form as of August 1, 2023. You may continue to use the current I-9 form dated 10/21/2019. Beginning November 1, 2023, however, all employers must use the new I-9 form. A copy of the new I-9 form may be found using this link: Form I‑9, Employment Eligibility Verification (PDF, 483.6 KB)

It is important to note that the alternative procedure for verifying I-9 supporting documents is only available to those employers who are E-Verify users in good standing. If a qualified employer chooses to use the alternative procedure, the employer must do so consistently for all employees at that site. An employer may also choose to use the alternative procedure only for those individuals working remotely, while still requiring in person review for all employees who work on site. Employers use the information provided on the I-9 form to enter information into E-Verify. E-Verify then confirms that the documents presented by the potential employee are consistent with the records held by DHS and the Social Security Administration.

Qualified employers who choose to use the alternative procedure must retain a clear and legible copy of all documents presented by the employee seeking to establish his/her identity and employment eligibility for the form I-9. These documents will allow DHS to assess the documents that were presented to, and remotely examined by, the employer in the event of an audit. This will also help DHS to determine whether the documents examined by the employer reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and to relate to the employee.

Should you have further questions about completing the new I-9 form, in person inspection of I-9 supporting documents, or use of the alternative review procedure for I-9 documentation, please contact one of our experienced employment lawyers.