IMMIGRATION COVID-19 UPDATES

In our continuing effort to keep our clients up to date on labor and employment law developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are providing the following information regarding changes to immigration related areas of the law:

Use of Expired State Driver’s Licenses and ID Cards in the Form I-9 Process

Immigration has issued the following guidance related to accepting and documenting a state issued driver’s license or identification card that expired on or after March 1, 2020 in a state where driver’s licenses/identification cards have been automatically extended because of the closure of motor vehicle offices.  If the employee’s state ID or driver’s license expired on or after March 1, 2020, and the document expiration date has been extended by their state due to COVID-19, then it is acceptable as a List B document for Form I-9. Enter the document’s expiration date in Section 2 and enter “COVID-19 EXT” in the Additional Information field.  As a best practice, it is recommended that employers attach a copy of the state motor vehicle department’s webpage or other notice indicating that their documents have been extended.

10-21-19 Version of Form I-9 Mandatory After April 30, 2020

A reminder that after April 30, 2020, only the 10-21-19 version of the Form I-9 can be used.  Immigration has been clear that this deadline will not change despite COVID-19.  So, while many employers are not hiring right now, it is important to make certain you have implemented use of the revised Form I-9 so that your company is in compliance when hiring begins again.  The revised Form I-9 and the Form I-9 instructions can be found at:  https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

REAL ID Deadline Extended

On March 26, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security announced that it is extending the REAL ID enforcement deadline for twelve months beyond the current deadline due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new deadline for REAL ID enforcement will be October 1, 2021 and a notice confirming this will be published in the Federal Register in the near future.

Processing of Employment Authorization Card Extensions for Foreign National Employees

Immigration has advised stakeholders that it is revising its procedures for processing applications for extension of employment authorization cards by foreign nationals.  Typically, the filing of such an application requires the foreign national to have biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) taken at an Immigration Application Support Center (“ASC”) before the extension application can be processed and approved.  Immigration has stated that since all ASC offices are closed until at least May 4, 2020, it will process these employment authorization extension applications using previously submitted biometrics.  This revised procedure will remain in effect until ASC offices resume normal operations.

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Since legal developments pertaining to COVID-19 are constantly evolving, we recommend that our clients call the Kullman Firm attorney(s) with whom they work for the most current guidance on these matters.