The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that the exemption for the physical inspection of Form I-9 documents has been extended to Aug. 19, 2020. According to the DHS, this will serve as the final extension.

Physical Inspection
Employers must complete and sign Section 2 of Form I-9 within three business days of the employee’s first day of employment. Employers are required to physically examine the documents the employee presents from the list of acceptable documents to prove his or her employment eligibility.

Remote Verification
Because of COVID-19, DHS is allowing employers that are operating remotely to conduct a remote verification of approved I-9 documents. The exemption also applies to new hires affected by quarantine or lockdown protocols. The exemption does not apply to employers that have employees physically present at a work location.

Under the exemption, employers must complete a remote inspection of approved documents within three business days and enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay. Employers that use this exemption must also keep written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.

Within three days of when normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification must present their approved
documents for a physical inspection. Employers should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to affected I-9 forms.

Important Dates

March 11, 2020: National emergency declared for the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
March 19, 2020: DHS grants exemption from physical inspection of Form I-9 documents.
July 18, 2020: DHS announces second extension for the remote inspection exemption.
Aug. 19, 2020: Final date for the remote verification exemption.