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DHS Issues Temporary Policy for Form I-9 under COVID-19 Update

by | Nov 20, 2020 | Employment & Labor Law, Immigration Law

UPDATE: DHS recently extended its temporary policy permitting flexibility in certain I-9 requirements to December 31, 2020.  The policy, issued earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, affords employers some flexibility in completing Form I-9 to account for a remote workforce and the difficulty some employees may currently face in renewing identity documents.

Original Blog Posted on May 6, 2020 (below):

On May 1, 2020, DHS issued a temporary policy permitting employers to accept certain expired List B documents when verifying employment eligibility, recognizing that employees may currently have difficulty renewing documents such as a state driver’s license.  Typically, a List B document, which establishes an individual’s identity, must be unexpired for an employer to accept it when completing Form I-9.  In certain cases where the actual document is not available, an employer can accept a receipt for the document (such as to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged document), but must reverify the employee’s eligibility later.  

Effective May 1, 2020, employers may treat List B documents set to expire on or after March 1, 2020, that have not been extended by the issuing authority, as if the employee had presented a valid receipt for the document.  The document should be recorded in Section 2, with “COVID-19” noted in the Additional Information Field.  Within 90 days after the temporary policy terminates, the employee must present a valid unexpired document to replace the expired document.  

Where the issuing authority has already extended document expiration dates because of COVID-19, the document is an acceptable List B document through the extension timeframe, and is not treated as a “receipt.”  The document’s expiration date should be recorded in Section 2, and “COVID-19 EXT” noted in the Additional Information Field.  

Kristin A. Zech is an employment lawyer with Berenzweig Leonard, and leads the firm’s Immigration Practice.  She can be reached at 703-940-3788 or [email protected]