COVID-era Form I-9 temporary measures come to an end today, a day before a new Department of Homeland Security I-9 regulation goes into effect.

Key Points:

  • Temporary COVID-19 measures that allowed employers to conduct some Form I-9 document checks remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic come to an end today.
  • A new DHS regulation establishing optional alternatives to in-person Form I-9 processing takes effect Tuesday, Aug. 1. Under the regulation, qualified E-Verify employers may begin using the alternative procedure, provided they meet all requirements outlined in the “Optional Alternative 1” notice.
  • The “alternative” program is optional. Employers who prefer to review documents in person may do so. Employers that do not meet the requirements for the new process must review I-9 documents in person.
  • USCIS has stated it will post a new Form I-9 version Aug. 1. Employers will continue to be able to use the previous version of the form through Oct. 31. It will no longer be valid starting Nov. 1.
  • Employers should monitor the USCIS “I-9 Central” page and M-274 Handbook for Employers for guidance on how to complete the Form I-9.

Reminder: Employers have until Aug. 30 to conduct follow-up document inspections for employees whose Form I-9 identity and work authorization documents were inspected remotely under the temporary COVID-19 measures. The follow-up inspections can be completed under the new DHS rule, provided the employer (1) was enrolled in E-Verify at the time the employee was hired, (2) created an E-Verify case for the employee in question and (3) performed a remote Form I-9 document inspection for the employee under the temporary measures between March 20, 2020, and July 31, 2023. Employers that do not meet these requirements must physically review documents by Aug. 30.

BAL Analysis: The new remote verification option is welcome news for employers, especially because it will be available in some cases to employers who must complete follow-up document review for employees hired during the pandemic. Employers are encouraged to continue working closely with BAL on Form I-9 compliance matters.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact

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