Issuance Number: 2020-09

Date: March 25, 2020

To: Workforce Partnership Subrecipients

From: Andrew Picard, Chief Program Officer

Subject: I-9 Update – DHS announces flexibility in requirements related to Form I-9 compliance


This operations issuance is to notify Workforce Partnership (SDWP) subrecipients of temporary guidance on I-9 compliance prior to providing any service that triggers coordination with any employer, or any employment related service, the Subrecipient must verify the participant’s right to work in the United States. Right to work cannot be verified at eligibility, therefore it must be verified during participation. This requirement includes assistance with, but not limited to, paid and on-the-job training, and placement in employment. If no employment services will be provided to the participant, right to work verification is not required. Refer to Chapter 4. Part 1 and 2 Authorization to Work Services Flowchart for guidance on verification of authorization to work documents, including which services require verification. 


Due to precautions being implemented by employers and employees related to physical proximity associated with COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced today that it will exercise discretion to defer the physical presence requirements associated with Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) under Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Employers with employees taking physical proximity precautions due to COVID-19 will not be required to review the employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence. 

As of March 20, 2020, U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) released formal guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the completion of I-9 forms during public health emergencies which require social distancing. These provisions will be implemented for a period of 60 days from the date the guidance was issued OR within 3 business days after the termination of the national emergency, whichever comes first. Until further notice, staff completing I-9 forms for program participants must follow the below process: 

  1. Inspect document(s) with participant remotely (e.g. over video link, email, fax, etc…). 
  2. Have the participant take a mobile picture or scan and upload a photo of the identity and work authorization documents through the FileMaker Document Manager system when available. 
  3. Add a standalone case note in CalJOBS with subject line:COVID-19 Physical Inspection Delay” and state that you have verified documents remotely. 
  4. Maintain a list of participants for whom identity and work authorization documentation could not be physically inspected, and require those participants to present their identity and work authorization documents to you in-person no later than three (3) days after the revocation of the DHS guidance, or the cancellation of the national emergency, whichever comes first. 
  5. Once the documents have been physically examined, add a standalone case note in CalJOBS with subject line:I-9 documents physically examined” with the date of inspection and documents verified.




Effective March 20, 2020 all training providers may use this guidance as necessary to continue to provide services until the stay home order has been lifted.  

If you have any feedback or questions regarding this issuance contact your Program Specialist.  


  1. DHS Worksite Enforcement Press Release dated 3/20/20 
  2. Executive Order N-33-20 
  3. Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers 
  4. COVID-19 Updates for Workers 
  5. COVID-19 CalJOBS Updates