Form I-9 COVID-19 Flexibility Policy Update – Ends July 31, 2023


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Form I-9 COVID-19 Flexibility Policy Update: What You Need to Know

The COVID-19 pandemic did not just bring challenges to businesses and their operations but to the completion and maintenance of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, as well. As the pandemic was at its peak, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) introduced a temporary flexibility policy regarding the I-9 form requirements. This blog sheds light on the flexibility policy USCIS introduced and the recent updates on it.

Form I-9 COVID-19 Flexibility Policy

The challenges the pandemic posed resulted in the USCIS coming up with the Form I-9 COVID-19 Flexibility Policy to facilitate remote work arrangements and ensure compliance with the employment eligibility verification requirements, as well. This policy provided flexibility in completing and retaining the I-9 forms for U.S. employers and employees.

This I-9 flexibility policy allowed employers to inspect Section 2 documents and complete Form I-9 online remotely. It also deferred in-person verification and allowed Form I-9 remote verification during the designated period and until normal business operations resume. USCIS announced this flexibility policy to facilitate compliance while ensuring the safety of both employers and employees during the pandemic.

Updates and Changes to the Form I-9 COVID-19 Flexibility Policy

The I-9 form COVID-19 Flexibility Policy allows electronic completion and signature of Form I-9, allows for remote verification options, and temporary exceptions for certain documentation requirements. These changes were announced to ensure compliance and safeguard public health during challenging times.

Employers were allowed to defer physical inspection of documents the newly hired employees presented. They were also given more time to review and verify the documents employees submitted. This way, employers had additional time to comply with the I-9 requirements.

Virtual document verification was allowed for employers operating remotely. This made it easy for employers to maintain social distancing measures and also facilitate remote onboarding.

Form I-9 COVID-19 Flexibility Policy – Ends July 31, 2023

The flexibility policy is not forever and it has an expiration date, which is July 31, 2023. As of this date, the flexibility provisions will expire and the U.S. employers must comply with the regular compliance procedures from August 1, 2023.

In its most recent update on this flexibility policy, USCIS has mentioned that employers must complete in-person physical verification of the hired employees’ identity and employment eligibility documentation before August 30, 2023. This applies to the employers who onboarded employees during the pandemic using remote verification.

It is mandatory for employers to properly document and annotate the I-9 forms that were completed when the flexibility policy was active. Likewise, they must ensure they comply with the retention rules and maintain accurate records.

As the USCIS and U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) often announce updates to the I-9 form and to the policy, as well, it is recommended that employers closely monitor such announcements regarding Form I-9 requirements to keep themselves informed about the I-9 flexibility policy. USCIS I-9 Central has all the updated information regarding the flexibility policy.


The Form I-9 COVID Flexibility Policy comes to an end on July 31, 2023. It is crucial for all U.S. employers to prepare themselves to transition back to regular compliance procedures to avoid penalties.

Keep track of our Form I-9 compliance news and blog to receive regular updates on the Form I-9 compliance flexibility policy. We recommend staying updated and seeking professional help to maintain compliance and ensure a smooth transition. You can also try Imagility, our comprehensive immigration software, to simplify your compliance journey.

We’re just a call away! You can reach us at +1 603 782 4622/+1 617 865 6588 to learn more.

Form I-9 – Helpful Resources

Form I-9 Playbook

Navigating the I-9 Form 2023: What You Need to Know

DHS Ends Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility

Internal I-9 Form Corrections and Audit Instructions


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