U.S. Department of Human Services Seeking Comment on Form I-9 Document Examination Alternatives

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations have adjusted how they operate. In March 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced temporary compliance flexibility for certain I-9 requirements. What was first a short-term action has become a longer-term change. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced that I-9 compliance flexibility will continue into the new year with an extension of the policy until April 30, 2022.

Additionally, DHS announced that it is seeking public input regarding I-9 document examination practices. DHS is exploring alternative options to physical document examination and stated it is interested in obtaining public input about experiences with remote document examination that can be used to inform and improve DHS policies and processes. DHS provided a non-exhaustive list of questions to help individuals as they create comments regarding remote document examination, including:

1. Comments about pandemic-related I-9 compliance flexibility experience, such as:

  • Did your organization use the compliance flexibilities for remote document examination for I-9? Why or why not?
  • How did remote review perform with your technical resources (video and image quality, document retention, etc.)?
  • What was your experience collecting digital images or documents from employees?
  • What was your experience with employees completing and submitting Section 1 of Form I-9 remotely?

2. Comments about potential remote document examination in the future, such as:

  • What are the benefits of a permanent remote document examination option?
  • What types of employers or employees would have interest in a remote option?
  • Should the list of acceptable documents change? What are the costs and benefits of this?

Employers and others can submit comments at regulations.gov. All comments are public and posted on the site. The commenting period runs through December 27, 2021, with late-filed comments considered to the extent practicable.

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