When hiring a new employee, or converting an employee from an independent contractor to an employee, the company must complete an I-9 form in person, within three days of hire, to establish the employee’s authorization to work in the United States. For remote employees who are far from the nearest office, this can pose a problem if there is no employee nearby to inspect their identification. Video and/or Skype is not an acceptable means of fulfilling the “in person” requirement.
The In-Person Inspection Rule
When completing Form I-9, the employer or authorized representative must physically examine, with the employee being physically present, each document presented to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the employee presenting it. Reviewing or examining documents via webcam is not permissible.
What Can an Employer Do in this Situation?
Using an Agent or Authorized Representative
Employers may designate an authorized representative to fill out Forms I-9 on behalf of their company, including personnel officers, foremen, licensed attorneys, agents, or notary public*. The Department of Homeland Security does not require the authorized representative to have specific agreements or other documentation for Form I-9 purposes. However, if an authorized representative fills out Form I-9 on behalf on the employer, the employer is still liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process.
If the authorized representative refuses to complete Form I-9 (including providing a signature), another authorized representative may be selected. If the employer hires a notary public, the notary public is acting as an authorized representative of the employer, not as a notary. The notary public must perform the same required actions as an authorized representative. When acting as an authorized representative, the notary public should not provide a notary seal on Form I-9.Continue reading