In an earlier blog entry, we noted that the in-person requirement for the Form I-9 is temporarily suspended if your company is closed or taking other precautions due to COVID-19.
UPDATE: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced remote I-9 document review has been extended for another 30 days; the original exemption was set to expire May 19, 2020.
The general rule is that an employer must undertake a physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee for section 2 purposes. However, in light of COVID-19, the government is suspending the in-person and physical inspection of the document(s) presented by the employee when completing the Form I-9. During this time, an employer can view the document(s) presented by the employee via Zoom or Skype, for example.
Once normal operations resume, employers must inspect documents in person and note “COVID-19” as the reason for the delay in the section’s “additional information” field, as well as “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to that field or Section 3 as appropriate, per ICE guidelines.
Please also keep in mind that this exception is only available to employers/workplaces currently operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no I-9 exceptions are currently implemented.