COVID-19 UPDATE: USCIS Relaxes Requirements To Verify Identity on Form I-9
On March 12, we recommended that employers designate authorized representatives to complete and reverify Forms I-9 in person during COVID-19 closures and furloughs. On March 24, we updated our guidance in detail because, in response to COVID-19, USCIS began allowing employers and employees to complete Forms I-9 remotely. The agency has now further relaxed I-9 verification requirements.
On May 1, 2020, USCIS announced that, effective immediately, employers may begin accepting expired documents from new hires to satisfy List B identity verification. However, this exception applies only if the document expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the issuing agency has not auto-extended the document. Employers must treat these expired ID documents under the “90-day Receipt Rule.” In other words, the documents are acceptable for only 90 days after hire. By Day 91, the employee must present either the renewed document or another acceptable List A or List B document to verify identity in order to continue working lawfully. The expired identity document may also be used to create the E‑Verify case within the required 3 days after hire date.
Some expired documents, including driver’s licenses in many states, have been automatically extended by the issuing agency under COVID-19 rules. Employers may accept these auto‑extended documents as currently valid for I-9 identity verification. The “Receipt Rule” does not apply to these documents, which are valid on presentation and should never be re-verified.
Form I-9 compliance rules are strict and subject to government audit and enforcement, even under COVID-19. Employers should consult competent immigration counsel for detailed and specific guidance on proper completion, updating, and documentation of Form I-9 under each of the above scenarios.