U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a temporary policy for List B identity documents used in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process. The agency noted that employees may experience challenges in renewing state driver’s licenses, state ID cards, or other List B documents due to stay-at-home orders and restrictions on renewal services. As of May 1, 2020, identity documents in List B with expiration dates on or after March 1, 2020, and not otherwise extended by the issuing authority “may be treated the same as if the employee presented a valid receipt for an acceptable document for Form I-9 purposes.”

USCIS said that when an employee provides an acceptable expired List B document that has not been extended by the issuing authority, an employer should record the document information in Section 2 of the I-9 under List B, as applicable, and enter the word “COVID-19” in the Additional Information field. Within 90 days after DHS’s termination of this temporary policy, the employee must present a valid unexpired document to replace the expired document presented when they were initially hired. USCIS said that it’s best if the employee can present the replacement of the actual document that expired, but if necessary, the employee may choose to present a different List A or List B document(s) and record the new document information in the Additional Information field.

The agency noted that when an employee presents an acceptable expired List B document that has been extended by the issuing authority, an employer should enter the document’s expiration date in Section 2, and enter “COVID-19 EXT” in the Additional Information field.

This follows an announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that it will exercise discretion to defer the I-9 physical presence requirements. Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. However, employers must inspect the Section 2 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax or email) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents within three business days for purposes of completing Section 2.

Employers should enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical inspection delay in the Section 2 Additional Information field once physical inspection takes place after normal operations resume. Once the documents have been physically inspected, the employer should add “documents physically examined” with the date of inspection to the Section 2 Additional Information field on the I-9, or to Section 3 as appropriate.

These provisions may be implemented by employers for a period of 60 days from the date of the March 20, 2020, notice or within 3 business days after the termination of the National Emergency, whichever comes first. Employers who avail themselves of this option must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.