Florida Immigration Attorneys

Navigating I-9 Issues During COVID 19

Properly completing the I-9 requirements can be confusing for employers. I-9s are used to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All employer must properly complete the I-9 for each individual they hire for employment within the United States. As COVID-19 has changed workplace procedures in the Untied States, it has caused confusion about how to properly complete the I-9 process. There are two specific areas where I-9 policies have changed in order to minimize the burden on employers and employees: remote onboarding and flexibility regarding List B identity documents.

Remote Onboarding

If an employer is working remotely due to COVID-19, they will be allowed to inspect section 2 documents for the I-9 remotely and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of these documents within three business days. Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in Section 2 Additional Information. This process may be implemented by employers until June 18th or within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency whichever comes first. Employers who use this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.

Once normal operation resumes, all employees brought on using this remote verification must report to their employer within three business days for physical inspection of their identity and employment authorization documentation. Once the documents are physically inspected the employer should add “Documents physically inspected” with the date in Section 2 Additional Information.

Flexibility Regarding List B Identity Documents

With many states still under stay-at home orders and some online renewal services for identity documents restricted, employees may experience challenges renewing their state driver’s license, ID card or other List B identity document.

Beginning on May 1st identity documents, listed in List B of the third page of the I-9, that are set to expire on or after March 1, 2020 and were not otherwise extended by the issuing authority (for example the state’s bureau of motor vehicles) may be treated the same as if the employee had presented a valid receipt for the document.

If the expired document has not been extended by the issuing authority, employers should record the document information in Section 2 List B and enter the word “COVID-19” in the Additional Information Field. Within 90 days of the termination of this policy, the employee will be required to present a valid unexpired document to replace the expired document the employee presented when they were initially hired. If the employee cannot present a replacement of the originally presented document, they may present a different List A or List B document and the information for this document can be recorded in the Additional Information Field. If the employee later presents an unexpired document, the employer should list the document’s information in the Section 2 Additional Information Field and initial and date the change.

If the employee’s document expired on or after March 1, 2020 and the issuing authority has extended the expiration date due to COVID-19, then the document is acceptable as it is, and not as a receipt, during the extension timeframe specified by the issuing authority. The employer should list the document’s expiration date in Section 2 and enter “COVID-19 EXT” in the Additional Information Field. Employers should attach a copy of the webpage or notice indicating that the issuing authority has extended the validity of the documents. If the document’s validity was extended by the issuing authority, then employees are not required to later present a valid unexpired List B document.

For help navigating the I-9 process and ensuring that your company is complying with all I-9 requirements contact Brown Immigration Law today to schedule a free consultation.

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