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DHS announces new Form I-9 and remote process

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has released a new version of Form I‑9 for employment eligibility verification and a new process to conduct verification electronically.

Employers are required to use Form I‑9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of their employees.

The new, streamlined form is only one page long, includes clearer instructions and provides guidance on acceptable receipts and the auto-extension of some employment documents to limit any gaps in employment.

Employers may begin using the new edition on Aug. 1, 2023, but may also continue to use the 2019 version of the form through Oct. 31, 2023. Starting Nov. 1, 2023, only the new Form I‑9 dated ”08/01/2023” may be used.

The agency also announced a new remote option for Form I-9, instead of requiring an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents to be reviewed in person.

Now, employers who participate in E-Verify and are in good standing will have the option to conduct verification electronically with a live video call. This new flexible option is codified in a final rule and Federal Register notice that goes into effect on August 1, 2023.

E-Verify is a free, web-based system that DHS operates in partnership with the Social Security Administration.

Under current regulations, within three business days after the first day of employment, employers must physically examine the Form I-9 documentation presented by new employees in order to verify the accuracy of the documentation.  The new final rule revises those regulations to allow for a remote alternative.

Employers that do not participate in E-Verify have until August 30, 2023, to complete all required physical examination of identity and employment authorization documents for individuals hired on or after March 20, 2020, who have received only a virtual or remote examination under the temporary COVID-19 rules.

However, for employers that are otherwise compliant with the relevant law and regulations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) generally will not use its limited enforcement resources on Form I-9 verification violations for failing to complete physical document examination by August 30.

Under the new rule, DHS also has the authority to conduct a pilot program that would expand the remote examination option to a broader category of employers. The department will provide more information about the pilot soon.