DHS to End Temporary COVID-19 Flexibilities on I-9 Verification

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has signaled a significant shift in the way businesses handle their I-9 Verification processes. As of July 31, 2023, the temporary COVID-19 flexibilities that were introduced in March 2020 will come to an end. What’s more, businesses will have an additional 30 days to complete in-person physical inspections for documents that were inspected remotely during this period. Let’s break down what this means for employers and employees alike.

Background: Understanding the I-9 Verification Process

The I-9 Verification process is a fundamental requirement of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. It is a procedure where employers must verify an employee’s identity and employment authorization using certain documents. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DHS implemented temporary flexibilities, enabling employers to defer the physical, in-person inspection of these documents when operating remotely.

DHS’s Decision to End Temporary Flexibilities

Given the improving public health conditions and ending of COVID national emergency, DHS has decided to end these temporary flexibilities. Starting July 31, 2023, employers will need to return to the pre-pandemic I-9 Verification process, meaning in-person physical inspections of documents will be reinstated.

What’s the 30-day Period for?

DHS is providing employers with a 30-day period following the end of the temporary flexibilities. During this time, employers must conduct in-person inspections of any documents that were initially verified remotely under the temporary policies. This grace period aims to help businesses transition smoothly back to the traditional I-9 Verification procedures.

The Impact on Employers and Employees

The termination of these flexibilities could cause significant changes in the operational protocols of many businesses, particularly those that have maintained remote working arrangements. Employers will need to redesign their HR processes to accommodate this change, ensuring they comply with the updated requirements. Similarly, employees working remotely may need to make arrangements for in-person document verification.

Adapting to Change and Looking Ahead

While this move might be seen as a challenge by some, it also provides an opportunity to adapt and refine our employment verification processes. As we navigate this shift, it’s critical to recognize the balance between operational efficiency and regulatory compliance. We might also consider it a prompt to reassess how these processes could be designed in a post-pandemic world.


The end of DHS’s temporary COVID-19 flexibilities on I-9 Verification marks a significant milestone on the road to normalcy. As businesses, it’s essential to embrace these changes, adapt our processes accordingly, and maintain our commitment to ensuring a compliant and efficient workplace. Remember, change often breeds innovation – let’s use this opportunity to innovate our employment verification processes for a better tomorrow. At Sharma Law Offices, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest level of legal representation and guidance. If you have any questions about the topic we discussed or if you need legal assistance with an immigration matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.