The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

DHS Issues Request for Public Comment on Form I-9 Employment Verification

On October 26, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a Request for Public Input (RPI) “seeking comments from employers, employer organizations, employee groups, and other members of the public on document examination practices for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.” 

The RPI is the agency’s next step in determining whether the remote document examination flexibilities that have been in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic should be continued on a permanent basis. Comments are due on or before December 27, 2021.


On March 20, 2020, DHS announced employer flexibility guidance to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 for 60 days. The guidance allows for remote inspection of Form I-9 documents in situations where employees work exclusively in a remote setting due to COVID-19-related precautions. For employees who physically report to work at a company location on any regular, consistent or predictable basis, employers are required to use standard I-9 procedures.

The guidance has been extended continuously throughout the pandemic. Issued on August 31, the latest extension to the flexibility guidance was granted through December 31, 2021, following advocacy efforts from CUPA-HR and other stakeholders who expressed a dire need for DHS to maintain the flexibility in light of surging cases of the delta variant.

Request for Public Input

The RPI includes a list of questions grouped into two categories: “Experiences with Pandemic-Related Document Examination Flexibilities” and “Considerations for Future Remote Document Examination Procedures.” As DHS considers winding down the flexibility guidance, the RPI will provide the department with important feedback from employers who have conducted remote inspection and “inform and improve DHS policies and processes” regarding “alternative options to physical document examination that offer an equivalent or higher level of security for identity and employment eligibility verification purposes” moving forward.

The flexibility guidance has been instrumental to institutions of higher education during the pandemic. As such, CUPA-HR intends to engage our members and submit robust comments in response to the RPI. ​Look for more details and your chance to contribute your feedback in the coming weeks.