ICE Updates Form I-9 Requirement Flexibility: Key Changes and Their Impact on Employers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have announced significant changes to Form I-9 requirement flexibility. Employers now have 30 days to reach compliance with Form I-9 requirements after the COVID-19 flexibilities sunset on July 31, 2023. Introduced in March 2020, these flexibilities have been extended multiple times due to the ongoing pandemic. DHS encourages employers to plan ahead and complete all required physical inspections of identity and employment eligibility documents by August 30, 2023.

COVID-19 Flexibilities and Form I-9 Compliance

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE permitted employers to defer physical inspections of employees’ identity and employment authorization documents. Employers could conduct these inspections remotely, such as via video link, fax, or email. The expectation was that physical inspections would resume within three business days after normal operations returned.

ICE has clarified that employers can continue using these flexibilities until affected employees undertake non-remote employment consistently, or the extension of the flexibilities is terminated, whichever is earlier. Following the latest announcement, the flexibilities will now be extended until July 31, 2023.

Implications for Employers

Employers have until August 30, 2023, to perform all required physical examinations of identity and employment eligibility documents for individuals hired on or after March 20, 2020, who have only received a virtual or remote examination under the flexibilities.

During the pandemic, employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions were allowed to temporarily defer physical examination of employees’ identity and employment authorization documents. Employers could examine the employees’ documents remotely and enter “COVID-19” as the reason for the physical examination delay in Section 2 Additional Information field on the Form I-9. Once the documents were physically examined, employers would add “documents physically examined” with the date of examination to the appropriate section of the form.

Future Changes to Form I-9 Examination Procedures

On August 18, 2022, DHS issued a proposed rule that would allow alternative procedures for the examination of identity and employment eligibility documents. The public comment period closed on October 17, 2022, and DHS is currently reviewing the comments. A final rule is expected to be issued later this year.


It is crucial for employers to stay informed about the latest updates to Form I-9 requirement flexibility and make necessary adjustments to their employment eligibility verification processes. Planning ahead and ensuring compliance with the new deadline of August 30, 2023, will help businesses avoid potential penalties and maintain a compliant workforce

If you or your family members have any questions about how immigration and nationality laws in the United States may affect you, or if you want to access additional information about immigration and nationality laws in the United States or Canada, please don’t hesitate to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can reach us by emailing or by calling us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. We also invite you to visit our website at for more information.

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