On July 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that beginning on August 1, employers who use E-Verify and are in good standing will have the option to review employees’ identity and employment authorization documents (EAD) via live video call rather than in person. Employers who aren’t using E-Verify may wish to sign up now to take advantage of the remote verification option. Additionally, all employers, whether they use E-Verify or not, should know that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a revised Form I-9 on August 1.
E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use web-based system that enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. Under the new DHS rule, employers may continue to conduct physical examinations of I-9 documentation if they wish, but the remote option is available to those who are enrolled in E-Verify.
Enrolling in E-Verify is fairly easy. More information on how to enroll and about the system can be found at https://www.e-verify.gov/employers/enrolling-in-e-verify.
New Form I-9
On Aug. 1, USCIS published a revised version of Form I-9. The new form is a fillable form designed for tablets and mobile devices. It includes a checkbox allowing employers to indicate they examined Form I-9 documentation remotely under the DHS-authorized alternative procedure rather than via physical examination. The new form also revises the Lists of Acceptable Documents page to include guidance on acceptable receipts as well as links to information on automatic extensions of employment authorization documentation.
The revised Form I-9 was published on the USCIS website on Aug. 1. Until October 31, 2023, employers can still use the previous Form I-9 issued on October 21, 2019. Starting Nov. 1, all employers must use the new Form I-9.
As mentioned in our August article “DHS and ICE announce end to Form I-9 virtual document review,” the federal government has ended the COVID-19 temporary flexibilities for I-9 documentation verification. Accordingly, employers who don’t participate in E-Verify must now perform physical examination of identity and employment authorization documents. They can no longer do so via remote means. If you have any questions about E-Verify, the new Form I-9, or virtual inspection, you should contact their labor and employment counsel.
Marylou Fabbo is a partner at the firm of Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., in Springfield, Massachusetts, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.