I’m sure I’m not the only person that has enjoyed the remote verification of I-9 documents. Lucky for us, it has been extended (maybe permanently). 

Qualified E-Verify users can remotely verify I-9 forms, but the process must be managed carefully. Employers should avoid over-documenting, as it could raise concerns of discrimination or unnecessary document requests based on an employee’s citizenship or national origin. Over documenting is asking employees for more documents than are required by the I-9. An example would be asking an employee for a driver’s license, social security card and a permanent resident card “green card.” 

Am I Eligible for Remote Verification?

To be eligible for remote verification, employers must meet E-Verify program requirements, be in good standing, and complete required training.

Good standing with E-Verify is employers who: 

  • Have enrolled in E-Verify for all hiring sites that use the remote alternative procedure.
  • Be in compliance with all E-Verify program requirements, including verifying the employment eligibility of newly hired employees.
  • Continue to be a participant in good standing in E-Verify at any time the employer uses remote verification.

How Does Remote Verification Work?

During the remote verification process, employers may use live video chats to review employees’ identity and work eligibility documents and compare them to the information provided by employees in Section 1 of the Form I-9. 

It’s essential for employers to provide clear guidance to employees on the required documents and avoid receiving too many documents electronically. As always, employees still have the freedom to choose which acceptable documents to present if the documents meet the qualifications from the acceptable documents list from List A or B and C. Employees can opt for in-person verification if they’d prefer.

There are no changes to the document retention rules requiring documents to be kept for one year from termination or three years from hire, whichever is longer.

Keep in mind that recording video chats for verification may be subject to state privacy laws, so employers should be aware of these regulations and obtain consent if necessary. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not mandate the recording of document reviews in video or screenshot formats, and compliance relies on an honor system. Employers should consider data privacy and security concerns when deciding whether to record interactions, as it may increase the burden on HR departments. If employers opt for additional tracking and documentation procedures, but these are not currently required by DHS.

Key Takeaways

In summary, qualified E-Verify users can conduct remote I-9 verifications, but they should be cautious about overdocumentation and consider privacy and security implications when recording video chats. Compliance with E-Verify program requirements and training is essential, and clear guidance should be provided to employees regarding document submission.

Don’t forget to use the new I-9 form. 

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