March 27

I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Changes During COVID-19

USCIS has temporarily adjusted rules for the filing of I-9 forms during the national health emergency caused by COVID-19.

Form I-9 is used to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals (citizens or non-citizens) hired for employment in the United States (visa holders, see here for more information).

USCIS is accepting all benefit forms and documents with reproduced original signatures for submissions dated March 21, 2020, or later. The temporary change only applies to signatures and will last for the duration of the National Emergency.

The electronically reproduced document must be of the original document with the original handwritten signature. This means that forms requiring a “wet” signature may be scanned, faxed, photocopied, or similarly reproduced. All other form instructions should be followed.

The filing entity must retain copies of the original documents containing the “wet” signature. USCIS may request the original documents at any time. If either the individual or entity does not produce the original document, the adjudication of immigration benefits may be negatively affected.

Once normal operations resume, the employer must conduct in-person verification of the employee’s identity and employment eligibility documentation within three business days. 

When physical inspection takes place, employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in Section 2 Additional Information field. Once verified, the employer should add the date of inspection and include “documents physically examined” to Section 2, or section 3 as appropriate.

About the author: Jon Velie has practiced Immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas

Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H-1B Visa: Application & Approval, is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon was also pivotal in the Cherokee Freedmen Supreme Court case.

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