U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that it would extend Form I-9 flexible procedures for employers operating remotely due to COVID-19.

Key Points:

  • ICE extended the temporary measures until Aug. 31, 2021. The guidance had been scheduled to expire May 31.
  • Since March 2020, the guidance has allowed employers that are operating remotely due to COVID-19 to conduct verification of employee documents virtually, e.g., by using fax, email or video link, for the purpose of Form I-9 employment eligibility verification procedures.
  • Employers that follow the virtual procedures must comply with certain guidelines when “normal operations” resume, including conducting physical inspection of documents that were viewed remotely within three business days.
  • ICE included guidance for employers regarding employees hired on or after June 1, 2021, who work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions. The guidance exempts these employees from physical inspection requirements until they undertake non-remote employment on a “regular, consistent, or predictable basis” or until the extension of I-9 flexibilities ends, whichever is earlier.
  • Employers should consult the original March 2020 ICE guidance for eligibility requirements and information on how to obtain, remotely inspect and retain copies of identity and employment eligibility documents. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also provided guidance on how to properly complete and annotate the Form I-9.
  • Employers are required to monitor the DHS and ICE websites for additional updates regarding when the extensions will be terminated, and normal operations will resume.

Background: ICE introduced the temporary measures in March 2020 and has extended them numerous times since then.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2021 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@bal.com.