During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) instituted temporary accommodations governing the renewal of documents for Form I-9 purposes relating to employment authorization in all work settings. Specifically, DHS allowed employees to present expired List B documents between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2022.
On May 1, 2022, DHS withdrew that temporary policy and advised that those Forms I-9 would have to be updated by July 31, 2022. See a listing of acceptable documents for Form I-9 here.
We have previously covered some aspects of the continued eligibility to extend documents relating to I-9 compliance automatically here.
What Has Changed?
What Other Actions Should Employers Take?
While List B documents are no longer viable for I-9 purposes, eligible employers might still review the Forms I-9 documents virtually, over video link, or by fax or email until October 31, 2022. This ability facilitating flexibility remains in place until an employee undertakes non-remote employment on a regular and consistent basis, or when the policy is terminated. It is possible that the virtual I-9 flexibility rules introduced during COVID-19 might be introduced as a permanent change. DHS is currently in the midst of its rulemaking process in this area of I-9 compliance. On July 25, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated that submission of reproduced signatures on formal U.S. petition filings would become the agency’s permanent policy. It is hoped that DHS also considers similar reforms in the I-9 compliance arena as we head out of the pandemic era.