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DHS Extends Form I-9 Requirements

On May 27th the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USCIS) announced the extension of the flexibility in complying with the requirements as they relate to the Form I-9 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  The initial date was set to expire on May 31st, but is now extended through August 31, 2021. 

The flexibility stems from the precautions employers are taking as they relate to the physical proximity recommendations set forth by the CDC.  As of April 1, 2021, the requirement that employers inspect employees’ Form I-9 identity and employment eligibility documentation in-person applies only to those employees who physically report to work at a company location on any regular and consistent basis. Employers with employees taking these precautions will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence.  Instead, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2. Employers also should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field. 

Once normal business operations resume, any employees who were onboarded using the remote verification process must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9.  Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of the inspection to the Section 2 additional information field on the Form I-9.

This provision only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely. If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions are being implemented at this time for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Additional information can be found at https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/dhs-announces-flexibility-requirements-related-form-i-9-compliance

Remote Question

Remote I-9 vs Standard I-9:
Is there a difference?

Through the evolution of electronic Form I-9 providers, the terms “Remote I-9” and “Standard I-9” refer to different methods of completing section 2 of the Federal Government’s Form I-9 – the employment eligibility form that all employers must complete for each new employee they hire.


Standard I-9 refers to the traditional method of completion, where the employee completes section 1 electronically, and the employer, typically a HR user or the employee’s manager, completes section 2 within the electronic Form I-9 system.

The term Remote I-9 was coined to refer to having an outside individual that the employer trusted, who was NOT a regular user of the electronic Form I-9 System, gain access to the system to complete section 2 of the Form I-9. The Form I-9 requires employees to complete section 1 by their first day of work for pay and requires employers to complete section 2 by the employee’s third day of work for pay.  Developing this “Remote I-9” capability was important for employers whose workforce was evolving to include telecommuters who were not going into the office and would not, otherwise, need to go into the office to complete onboarding paperwork. Without the Remote I-9 functionality, completing the Form I-9 was difficult, cumbersome, and very inconvenient for these remote employees, and the employers who employed them.


So, is there really a difference between Remote I-9 and Standard I-9s?


The difference between the two boils down to this: Do you, as an employer, need (or want) an outside individual to complete section 2 of the Form I-9  to meet the compliance requirement of getting the form completed by the employee’s third day of work?


For many employers, this became a “need” because of the pandemic, as many governments forced lock downs and restricted workplaces to only essential workers coming into the place of business. As many of these restrictions begin to ease, employers are re-evaluating their policies and looking to allow more remote workers long term. As these policies shift, and IT systems evolve to support these shifts, remote I-9s become an important feature and capability of every employer’s onboarding process.


Learn more about GryphonHR’s remote I-9 capabilities, and all of the different “outside, trusted individual” options available including employee-chosen, employer-chosen, and a nationwide network of third-party trusted notaries.