Preparing for the End of Remote Verification for I-9 Documents

07.11.23Baylee Davies
Recently, ICE announced the option for remote verification of I-9 documents will end on July 31st, 2023.

Preparing for the End of Remote Verification for I-9 Documents

During the COVID pandemic, many employers took advantage of completing I-9’s for new employees using the Temporary Remote Verification process allowed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). For employees who were not in an employer’s physical office due to the pandemic, this process allowed for the viewing of employee documents via a video call, e-mail or other method without the need for the physical inspection of the documents. 

In the past, ICE has stated that once normal operations resumed and an employee was physically reporting to a company location, they must be asked to present their documents for physical inspection within 3 days of the resumption of normal operations. 

Recently, ICE announced the option for remote verification of I-9 documents will end on July 31st, 2023. This means that after July 31st, employers may no longer use the remote verification process for completing the I-9 even if the employee will be working remotely on a regular basis. For employees whose I-9’s were completed during the pandemic using remote verification, employers have until August 30th, 2023 to physically inspect those employees’ documents and update their records.

How to Physically Verify I-9 Documents When Remote Verification Was Used

There are several options for an employer to physically verify an employee’s I-9 documents. The company is always responsible to make sure the person who will be conducting the physical inspection is trained and completes the I-9 correctly.

  • The first step is to ensure you have the original I-9 and it has “Remote inspection completed on [date]” in the Additional Information field. This was required to be added at the time of the original remote inspection.
  • If an employee will be coming into a company office OR will be seeing another company employee before August 30th, 2023, physical verification of the documents can be completed by an employee of the company.
  • If the employee will not be in the company offices or will not see another employee, the Authorized Representative process can be used to physically verify the documents. An Authorized Representative can be anyone, including a family member or neighbor.
  • Depending on the location of the employee, there may be services that can provide assistance with the physical verification of the documents. For example, notaries can perform this service, however, some states require additional certifications for them to do this so you will want to check the law in the location where the physical verification will be performed.
  • The person physically verifying the documents should annotate the original I-9 with the following in the ‘Additional Information’ field:
    • “COVID-19”
    • “Documents physically examined on [Date] by [full name and title of reviewer].”
    • If the examiner is the same person who did the original remote verification, they can add their initials instead of their full name and title.
  • If the employee’s documents are expired at the time of the physical review conducted for re-verification, do not ask for a new document as long as it was not expired at the time of the remote verification.
  • At the physical re-verification, if the employee provides a different document than the one they presented for the remote verification, you may complete a new Section 2 of the I-9 and attach it to the original I-9. The same notation listed above should still be added in the Additional Information field.

Sounds confusing! Yes, it can be! Contact us to help you navigate this tricky but important process so you can remain compliant with your I-9’s.

Author: Traci Hagan