May 26, 2021
LawQuest US Immigration Alerts | Qualifying U.S. Citizens May Travel with Expired Passports | Reminder – I-9 Flexibility Expires on May 30, 2021
Qualifying U.S. Citizens May Travel with Expired Passports
As of May 21, 2021, U.S. citizens will be able to use their expired U.S. passports to return to the United States if they travel before the end of December 31, 2021.
U.S. citizens who are overseas whose passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, will be allowed to use their expired U.S. passport for direct return travel to the United States until December 31, 2021.
Expired passports cannot be used to travel from the United States to an international destination or to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection in transit to the United States or to a United States territory.
Travelers qualify for this exception if all the following are true:
- They are U.S. citizens.
- They are currently abroad seeking to return to the United States.
- They are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (connecting flight) through a foreign country on their return to the United States or to a United States territory.
- Their expired passport was originally valid for 10 years, or, if they were 15 years of age or under when the passport was issued, their expired passport was originally valid for 5 years.
- Their expired passport is undamaged and in their possession.
Reminder – I-9 Flexibility Expires on May 30, 2021
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had deferred the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) until May 31, 2021. This policy only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension of this policy in May 2021 applies to employees hired on or after April 1, 2021 provided, they are working remotely due to COVID related safety measures. Employers must inspect the I-9 documents remotely (e.g., over video link, fax, or email, etc.) and obtain, inspect, and retain copies of the documents, within three business days in compliance with Section 2 of the I-9 Form.
All employers that avail of this flexibility must provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.
Once normal operations resume, employers are required to physically inspect the employee’s identity and employment eligibility documents. Employers should place a special note in the additional information field of Section 2 of the I-9 Form, “COVID 19” or similar explanation to document the reason for delayed physical inspection. Additionally, after the employer has physically examined the employee’s documents, the employer should make a note of the examination date and state “documents physically examined” in the additional information field of Form I-9 in Section 2 or in Section 3 as applicable.
It is important to note that if employees are physically present at a work location, the I-9 flexibilities do not apply.