By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

During the past few months, at the height of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the USCIS set up some temporary changes. However, those temporary changes include new employer obligations upon resumption of normal operations.

If your employer utilized the temporary change of remote verification because the workforce was working remotely, you need to take affirmative action upon resumption of normal operations. Specifically, once normal operations resume, all employees who were onboarded using remote verification must report to their employer within 3 business days for in-person verification of identity and employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9. 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 Form I-9, or to Section 3 as appropriate.

There are some other important things to remember. Depending on each employer’s situation, you may be recalling employees from layoff, returning employees to work from sick leave, and/or re-hiring employees. For each of these situations, remember these pointers:
  • For employees returning from a temporary layoff or furlough, no new I-9 form nor Section 3 needs to be completed;
  • For employees returning from paid or unpaid sick leave, no new I-9 form nor Section 3 needs to be completed; and
  • For employees being rehired, one must have them complete a new I-9 form or Section 3 of the existing I-9 form (if the re-hire is within 3 years of their original hire date).
If you are concerned about your company’s immigration compliance, I invite you to read The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, a book that I co-authored with Greg Siskind, available at