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Differing Guidance from USCIS and DHS Regarding Immigration Verification and COVID-19

2020-03-17

USCIS encourages rescheduling appointments for sick individuals; however, DHS makes not exception for private employers verifying in-person identity

USCIS has said that if an individual has an appointment at any of USCIS offices, they should reschedule if they have become ill for any reason.  Rescheduling should occur if the person:

Has traveled internationally to any country outside the U.S. within 14 days of your appointment;

Believes that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 (even if they have not travelled internationally); 

Are experiencing flu-like symptoms (such as a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat or fever) or otherwise feel ill.

There will be no penalty for rescheduling an previously arranged appointment.  Press release

Alternatively, in light of COVID-19, the DHS said that there will be no exceptions for in-person verification of identity or employment eligibility documentation for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  Within three business days of the date employment begins, employers are required to physically examine, with the employee being physically present, the original document presented to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the employee presenting it.  Reviewing these documents via webcam is not permission. 

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.