ICE Extends Deadline for Employers to Comply with Form I-9 Requirements Beyond July 31

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced that employers will have 30 days to comply with Form I-9 requirements after the COVID-19 flexibilities expire on July 31, 2023. These flexibilities, which were first introduced in March 2020, allowed employers to review their employees’ identity and employment authorization documents remotely, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new guidelines, employers who have been using the temporary flexibilities are encouraged to plan ahead to ensure that all required physical inspections of identity and employment eligibility documents are completed by August 30, 2023. Employers will have until this date to perform all required physical examinations of identity and employment eligibility documents for those individuals hired on or after March 20, 2020, and who have only received a virtual or remote examination under the flexibilities.

The temporary flexibilities allowed employers to defer physical examination of employees’ identity and employment authorization documents, given that their employees were taking physical proximity precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers could examine their employees’ documents remotely, such as over video link, fax, or email, and enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical examination delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field when the physical examination took place in the future.

DHS issued a proposed rule on August 18, 2022, which would allow alternative procedures for the examination of identity and employment eligibility documents. The public comment period ended on October 17, 2022, and DHS is currently reviewing the comments. A final rule is expected to be issued later this year.

The updated guidelines provide employers with more time to comply with the Form I-9 requirements, given the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Employers are encouraged to review their compliance procedures and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they are meeting the updated requirements.