Federal law requires employers to physically inspect identity/eligibility documents substantiating a new employee’s authorization to work in the U.S. within three days of hire as part of completing the Form I-9 Eligibility Verification. Effective March 2020, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) relaxed the physical inspection requirements due to concerns about COVID-19 spread from physical proximity and contact. Under those relaxed standards, employers could properly complete I-9 Forms by remotely inspecting verification documents presented by employees until such time that the employers resumed normal operations, and then employers could complete the physical inspection of the eligibility documents within a certain period of time.
Now with the decline of the pandemic, ICE and the Department of Homeland Security have announced that the relaxed Form I-9 physical inspection standards are ending July 31, 2023, and therefore, as of that date, employers may no longer conduct such remote inspections of I-9 identity/eligibility documents. Moreover, those employers who have conducted remote inspections of such documents under the relaxed standards must undertake physical inspection of those documents by August 30, 2023.