USCIS Update

In the era of remote work intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a significant update for E-Verify employers concerning Form I-9 verification. This article includes the new alternative to physical document checks, effective July 25, 2023.

Background: The Shift Towards Remote Verification

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated adaptations across all sectors, including employment verification processes. Traditionally, Form I-9 requires an in-person document examination to confirm an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. However, the pandemic’s constraints have led to the need for flexibility.

In May 2023, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directed employers to physically inspect documents remotely reviewed during the pandemic by August 30, 2023. This directive raised concerns due to the ongoing prevalence of remote work arrangements.

The DHS Announcement

Responding to these concerns, the DHS announced a new procedure on July 25, 2023, offering an alternative to the physical examination requirement for certain E-Verify employers. This update provides a much-needed reprieve for businesses striving to comply with verification requirements amid the pandemic’s challenges.

Eligibility Criteria for the Alternative Procedure

To qualify for this new alternative, employers must meet the following conditions:

  • Conducted remote examination of an employee’s documents between March 20, 2020, and July 31, 2023.
  • Were enrolled in E-Verify when completing Form I-9 for the employee.
  • Created an E-Verify case for the employee (excluding re-verification).
  • Must continue to be enrolled and actively participate in E-Verify.

Implementing the Alternative Procedure

Eligible employers can adopt this alternative starting August 1, 2023. The process entails:

  • A live video interaction for document re-examination if not previously done in person.
  • Required annotation on Form I-9 with “alternative procedure,” the second remote examination date, and employer initials.
  • Avoidance of creating another E-Verify case based on this second examination.

Note for Non-E-Verify Employers

Employers not enrolled in E-Verify during the specified period must adhere to the traditional in-person verification, potentially through an Authorized Representative, by the August 30, 2023, deadline.


This update is a pivotal adaptation for E-Verify employers navigating the complexities of remote work. Employers must review these guidelines thoroughly to ensure compliance and minimize disruptions. Consulting with an immigration compliance expert is recommended for a deeper understanding of these changes and how they might affect your business.


We Can Help!

You may have questions regarding employing a foreign national. We invite you to contact our team at Richards and Jurusik for detailed guidance and assistance. We aim to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information to make your immigration process smoother and less stressful. The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik have decades of experience helping people to work and live in the United States. Read some of our hundreds of 5-star client reviews! Contact us today to assess your legal situation.

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