I-9 Verification Document Exception During COVID-19
August 20, 2020 at 6:00 AM
by Erin K. Williams, Esq.
Pile of mail waiting to be sorted and shredded.

USCIS announced yesterday (August 19, 2020) that due to the COVID-19 public health emergency and the delay in the issuance of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD), employees may temporarily use Form I-797, Notice of Action Approval Notices as a List C document to establish their employment eligibility and begin work.

This authorization is in effect for individuals with an approval notice issued on or after December 1, 2019 through and including August 20, 2020 until December 1, 2020. Under normal I-9 rules employers may only accept the issued EAD card, and only as a List A document. Note that the use of the Form I-797 does NOT provide evidence of identity and any employee using the Form I-797 will still have to comply with and provide a proper identifying document.

Employers MUST reverify any employee who provides the Form I-797 by December 1, 2020 for a new valid List C document. USCIS in encouraging employers to complete reverification and acceptance of new EAD documents upon presentation. However, employers should be aware that it remains the employee’s choice as to what documents to present in order to comply and they may present the new EAD or a different document from List A or List C.

For those awaiting the physical EAD, this is great news for both employers and employees!

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