Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced today that it has extended Form I-9 flexible procedures for employers operating remotely because of COVID-19.

Key Points:

  • ICE extended the temporary measures, which were set to expire today, until May 31, 2021.
  • Since March 2020, the guidance has allowed employers that are operating remotely because of 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 added guidance for employers regarding employees hired on or after April 1, 2021, who work exclusively in a remote setting because of COVID-19. 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 U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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