As of March 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has allowed for remote review of Form I-9 Section 2 identity and employment authorization documents. The exemption from in-person review requirements is now in place until either August 31, 2021, normal University operations resume, or the termination of the national emergency, whichever comes first. This extension provides an opportunity to share important information about planning ahead for the expiration of USCIS’s temporary rule.
Under the temporary exemption, remote review is allowed for new hires who are not expected to physically come into the workplace because it is operating remotely due to COVID-19. It is not allowed if a new employee is required to physically come into the workplace and their duties must be performed onsite. In that case, identity and employment authorization documents must be inspected in-person.
To review Section 2 documents remotely, I-9 coordinators must follow USCIS requirements and protect employee privacy by viewing documents during a Zoom or Teams video meeting and capturing screenshots of reviewed documents. Documents with sensitive information, including Social Security cards, Passports, or other personal identification and employment verification information should not be sent over email as an image or attachment.
Once the temporary exemption expires, physical inspection of identity and employment authorization documents previously inspected remotely is required by USCIS within three business days. If the rule expires August 31, I-9 coordinators are required to identify active employees who were remotely-onboarded, review Section 2 documents in-person, and revise the employee’s Form I-9 using the Amend Form I-9 business process by the end of day September 3. Specific guidance for this process is published on UWHR’s I-9 completion requirements change webpage.
Updated information about how to complete the Form I-9 for new hires who live out of state will be provided in a subsequent communication.
UWHR encourages I-9 coordinators to begin planning for this process as soon as possible with the assumption that the temporary rule will not be extended again. In-person review can be completed at any time; if feasible, consider starting the process now. Additionally, the University’s plans to return to normal operations after September 10 will require in-person, physical inspection of Section 2 documents within 3 business days regardless of whether the rule is again extended.
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