Latest DHS I-9 Updates
A quick and easy summary of the latest and greatest from the Department of Homeland Security about Form I-9, employee authorization and verification.
- DHS & ICE announce form I-9 compliance flexibility has been extended until July 31st, 2023
- A New Form I-9 with BIG CHANGES is previewed by DHS (the current version of Form I-9 expires October 31). Some proposed changes include:
- Compressing Sections 1 and 2 from two pages to one.
- Moving Section 3 to a separate Re-verification and Rehire Supplement, making it a stand-alone section, only is accessed if needed.
- Updating the List of Acceptable Documents to include a link to List C documents (on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website) issued by DHS.
- Reducing and simplifying the form’s instructions from 15 pages to 7 pages.
- Removing electronic PDF enhancements to ensure that the form can be completed on all electronic devices.
- Temporary increase of Automatic Employment Authorization (EAD)
- If your current employee’s Form I-9 as of May 4, 2022 shows an EAD that was automatically extended by 180 days, the employee is eligible to receive an additional extension of 360 days as provided in the temporary final rule (87 FR 26614), for a total of 540 days counted from the “Card Expires” date stated on the face of the EAD
- Permanent Remote Inspection Rules Being Reviewed
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) proposed regulation that would give employers a permanent alternative to in-person work authorization document inspection as part of Form I-9 Section 2. Specifics have not been made public, but the proposed changes are being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after which it will be published in the public register before ICE publishes final guidelines.
DHS Form I-9, Work Authorization Flexibility
Pre-pandemic, employers were required to view work authorization documents in-person when completing Section Two of Form I-9. On March 20, 2020 the DHS announced a unique relaxation of these guidelines and allowed remote viewing of documents with a big caveat: at the end of this relaxation, employers would be required to reconcile all remotely-inspected documents with an in-person viewing!
Fast forward to 2022 with numerous extensions along the way, the DHS issued its final flexible I-9 extension date of 10/31/2022. This is also the date the current I-9 form is scheduled to expire and a new Form I-9 with extensive changes is planned for its replacement.
Status of DHS I-9 Flexibility Reconciliation
Upon the expiration of the relaxed guidelines, there will be a reconciliation period in which remotely-inspected documents will need to be physically reviewed and the process documented for each Form I-9.
What We Know:
- Remotely-inspected documents will need to be reverified upon expiration of the relaxed guidelines
- It’s unclear what permanent guidance will be issued regarding remote inspection after this period
- The best time to reconcile remotely inspected Form I-9s is now!
- You will most likely need to reconcile Form I-9 in their original collection format. You can learn about your options and scenarios from this easy guide on I-9 Reconciliation Options
- It is highly recommended to move forward with a Form I-9 collection method that does not require reconciliation or use of the relaxed guidelines
For many employers, the reconciliation process is going to be a huge headache, requiring a significant lift to view documents and make notes for dozens or hundreds of employees hired in the past few years. To compound the challenge, changes in work authorization documents or the staff member viewing them create scenarios in which new I-9s need to be completed while maintaining a complete audit trail. While the necessity of remote viewing was a relief in the short term, the looming cloud of reconciliation only grows more substantial with each relaxed I-9 collected. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for reconciliation.
Skip I-9 Reconciliation with Compliant Software
Though you may be limited in options for reconciliation, you are very much in control of your collection method moving forward. Though the temptation of continuing your remote process through October may be strong, using a compliant software like Remote I-9 will save time and ensure perpetually-compliant Form I-9s regardless of the final reconciliation scenario or new permanent guidance post-relaxation.
- Permanently Compliant – No reconciliation or worry required after completion
- Audit-ready – Comprehensive audit trail including dates, geolocation, & IP
- Most Accurate – Field-checking and document scanning eliminate common errors
- Guided Process – Easy for employees to complete on their own
Find out more about WorkBright’s I-9 Software