DHS to End I-9 Verification Temporary COVID-19 Flexibilities

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that temporary flexibilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic allowing an employer to perform remote document inspection and deferring the physical presence requirements for employment eligibility verification (form I-9), will end on July 31, 2023. After this date, employers will be required to review an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. The DHS also announced a 30-day period during which employers must complete in-person physical document inspections for any documents that were inspected remotely during the temporary flexibilities period.

What were the COVID-19 flexibilities for form I-9?

On March 20, 2020, the DHS announced a temporary policy under which an employer with a remote workplace and who is taking physical proximity precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic is not required to immediately review an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. Instead, an employer can inspect the employee’s documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax, or eMail, etc) and defer a physical inspection of the documents until an employee undertakes non-remote employment on a regular, consistent, or predictable basis. Upon the employee’s return to the office, the employer must perform a physical inspection of the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents within three days.

What will be required of employers after the form I-9 COVID-19 flexibilities end?

After the form I-9 flexibilities end, an employer will have 30 days (i.e., until August 30, 2023) to complete an in-person physical document inspection for any employee whose documents were only inspected remotely while the COVID-19 flexibilities were in place. A physical inspection will be required whether an employee will be physically returning to the workplace or will continue working remotely. If an employee will remain remote, the employer may authorize a representative to perform the in-person inspection and to complete the employer’s portion of form I-9 on the employer’s behalf.

Will remote inspection become available again?

On August 18, 2022, the DHS proposed a new rule with alternative procedures, allowing remote document examination for form I-9. However, until a final rule is published, in-person document inspection for form I-9 will be required after July 31, 2023.


The DHS and other U.S. government agencies are steadily ending temporary policies implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, an employer must stay up to date on policy changes to be compliant with current laws and regulations.


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