On July 21, 2023, the U.S. Citizenship, and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an alternative procedure for the completion of Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) referred to as “permanent virtual verification,” effective August 1, 2023.
Permanent virtual verification allows employers to inspect employees’ Form 1-9 documentation virtually instead of a physical verification.
The updated Form I-9 is available to employers starting August 1, 2023. The prior version of Form I-9 (Revised October 21, 2019) continues to be effective through October 31, 2023. Employers who continue to use the outdated Form I-9 will be subject to penalties.
Alternative document verification procedures
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a final rule effective on August 1, 2023, which will allow for remote documentation verification and examination.
The new DHS rule gives employers, enrolled in E-Verify, the option to remotely examine their employees’ identity and employment authorization documents under the new DHS-authorized alternative procedure.
In order for employers to use the alternative virtual verification procedure, they must be qualified. The qualifications include:
- A good standing in the E-Verify program.
- Enrolling in E-Verify for all of the hiring sites that they want to use the alternative procedure.
- Be compliant with all E-Verify requirements, this includes verifying the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
- Completing an E-Verify tutorial about fraud awareness and anti-discrimination.
How qualified employers can utilize the alternative virtual verification:
- Remotely examine the front and back of the employee’s identity and employment authorization documentation to make sure it is legitimate.
- Through a live call/interaction, make sure that the information presented on their documentation matches up with the employee.
- Indicate on Form I-9 that an alternative procedure was used to examine the employee’s documentation.
- Retain copies (front and back) of all documents presented by employees.
- If there is ever an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 audit, make sure to provide all of the retained documentation presented by the employee.
The new Form I-9 released by USCIS on August 1, 2023, explains the necessary changes to accommodate virtual verification. It also includes a checkbox which employers can mark if they have completed a remote examination under the alternative procedure.
If you have questions about the new Form I-9, remote verification options, or E-Verify, contact the HR team at email@example.com.