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What is E-Verify and How to Use It?

E-Verify is an online system that employers use to determine whether new employees are eligible to work in the USA.
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E-Verify is a web-based system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in collaboration with the Social Security Administration (SSA). This system enables employers to confirm the employment eligibility of their employees by electronically comparing the information provided on an employee's I-9 immigration and employment verification with DHS and SSA records.

For employers, E-Verify is an invaluable tool for ensuring compliance with U.S. immigration laws, significantly reducing the risk of penalties associated with hiring unauthorized workers. By verifying that individuals are legally authorized to work in the United States, employers can maintain a lawful and secure workforce. 

In this blog post, we will answer: 

  • What is E-Verify used for?
  • Who is required to use E-Verify?
  • Do employers have to use E-Verify?
  • Is E-Verify mandatory?
e-verify banner

What is E-Verify Used For?

As established, E-Verify is used to verify the employment status of new hires (not their immigration status). It plays a significant role in the hiring process for employers, particularly those with federal contracts or operating in states that mandate its use. 

By ensuring that employees are authorized to work, E-Verify helps businesses adhere to legal requirements and uphold the integrity of their workforce​​.

E-Verify is beneficial for:

  • Immigration lawyers: E-Verify is an important system for immigration lawyers advising clients on employment eligibility and compliance with immigration laws. It helps lawyers ensure that their clients, whether employers or employees are following proper procedures and adhering to legal standards.
  • Aspiring U.S. Citizens: For individuals seeking U.S. citizenship, maintaining a clean employment record is essential. E-Verify provides a straightforward method for demonstrating lawful employment, which can be beneficial in immigration proceedings.
  • Employers: E-Verify offers a reliable and efficient means for employers to confirm that their hires are authorized to work in the U.S. This helps avoid the legal and financial repercussions of employing unauthorized workers and supports a fair hiring process​ ​.

Why Does E-Verify Matter for Immigration?

E-Verify helps employers verify the employment eligibility of their new hires by cross-checking information from an employee’s I-9 form against records in DHS and SSA databases. This system is designed to prevent the hiring of unauthorized workers and ensure that all employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S. By using E-Verify, employers can avoid legal penalties associated with employing unauthorized workers and demonstrate good faith compliance with immigration laws​.

Also, the use of E-Verify helps to reduce document fraud and protect jobs for legally authorized workers. The system helps identify and reject fake documents, which has been a significant issue in the past. By ensuring that only individuals who are legally permitted to work are hired, E-Verify helps maintain fair competition in the job market and protects the rights and opportunities of legal workers

But to give you a better picture, let’s explore the implications for both immigration lawyers and immigrants.

Implications for Immigration Lawyers

E-Verify's significance lies in its legal implications and the necessity to navigate varying state laws regarding its mandatory use (in certain states). Lawyers must stay informed about specific state requirements, such as those in Florida, which have stringent E-Verify mandates. Understanding these regulations is crucial for advising clients accurately and ensuring their compliance with both federal and state laws​.

Impact on Immigrants

For immigrants, understanding how E-Verify works is essential for maintaining employment and legal status in the U.S. The system checks various categories of workers, and any discrepancies must be promptly addressed to avoid job termination.

Non-citizens need to ensure their documents are accurate and up to date to pass the verification process smoothly. Addressing Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) quickly is vital to prevent employment issues​.

How Does E-Verify Work?

  1. Enrollment

To enroll in E-Verify, employers must first register online. This process begins with the provision of essential company information, such as the Federal Tax ID number, the hiring locations where E-Verify will be used, and the number of employees at those locations. Employers also need to indicate if they are federal contractors since they are required to use E-Verify for employees working on federal contracts.

During the registration process, employers must sign the E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This document outlines the terms and conditions of participation in the E-Verify program. Additionally, employers must designate at least one program administrator who will be responsible for managing the E-Verify process, including setting up and overseeing the E-Verify accounts.

Once enrolled, the next step involves the completion of Form I-9 for all new hires. This form collects basic information from employees, such as their name, date of birth, Social Security number, and U.S. citizenship status. Employees must present supporting documents from the lists of acceptable documents outlined in Form I-9, which the employer must then verify. Employers enter this information into the E-Verify system within three business days of the employee's start date. The E-Verify system then cross-references the submitted information with records from the DHS and the SSA.

  1. Verification Process

After an employee completes Form I-9, the employer inputs the provided information into the E-Verify system. This system checks the data against records from DHS and SSA to confirm employment eligibility. If the submitted information matches the records, E-Verify returns a result of "Employment Authorized," and the case is automatically closed.

However, if there is a discrepancy between the employee’s information and the government records, E-Verify issues a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC). In this scenario, the employer must inform the employee of the TNC result, providing them with a Further Action Notice that explains the discrepancy and outlines the steps the employee must take to resolve it. Employees have eight federal working days to contact the appropriate agency—either SSA or DHS—to contest the TNC and resolve the issue by providing any necessary documentation.

If the discrepancy is resolved, the case will be updated to "Employment Authorized." If the issue is not resolved within the specified timeframe, the case will result in a "Final Nonconfirmation," at which point the employer may terminate the employee’s employment based on this outcome​.

  1. Handling Tentative Nonconfirmation

When a TNC result occurs, employers are required to promptly notify the affected employee. This notification involves providing the employee with a Further Action Notice, which details the reasons for the TNC and the steps the employee needs to follow to contest the result. Employees then have eight federal working days to contact the relevant agency (SSA or DHS) and resolve the issue by presenting any additional required documentation.

During this period, employers must refrain from taking any adverse actions against the employee, such as termination or suspension, based solely on the TNC result. The employee must be allowed to continue working while the discrepancy is being resolved.

If the employee successfully resolves the mismatch, the E-Verify case will be updated to "Employment Authorized." If the employee fails to resolve the issue within the allotted time, the case will be closed with a "Final Nonconfirmation." At this point, the employer is permitted to terminate the employee’s employment based on the E-Verify result.

This structured process ensures that employees have a fair opportunity to address any discrepancies in their employment eligibility records while providing employers with a clear protocol to follow in maintaining a legally compliant workforce​​.

Do Employers Have to Use E-verify?

Now, you might be wondering, do employers have to use E-Verify? While it's not mandatory for employers in certain areas, some may be required to use it by law. On the other hand, for employees, E-Verify offers a streamlined verification process that quickly confirms their eligibility to work.

E-Verify Case Results and State Requirements

When an employer submits an employee's information through E-Verify, the system generates one of several possible case results, each indicating the status of the employee's work authorization.

list of e-verify case results

Employment Authorized: This result indicates that the employee’s information matches the records held by the DHS and the SSA, confirming the employee's eligibility to work in the United States.

E-Verify Needs More Time: In some cases, the system requires additional time to verify the employee's information. This might occur if the initial verification cannot immediately confirm the employee’s status.

Tentative Nonconfirmation: This result occurs when there is a discrepancy between the information provided by the employee and the government records. The employee must take specific steps to resolve this discrepancy. The employer must notify the employee of the TNC result and provide instructions for contesting it.

Case in Continuance: If the employee has contacted SSA or DHS to resolve a TNC, but more time is needed to complete the verification process, the case status will be updated to "Case in Continuance." The employee is allowed to continue working during this period.

Close Case and Resubmit: This result indicates that there was an issue with the information entered, such as incorrect data. The employer must close the current case and create a new one with the correct information.

Final Nonconfirmation: If the employee’s work eligibility cannot be confirmed after attempting to resolve a TNC, the case result will be updated to "Final Nonconfirmation." The employer is then required to terminate the employment to comply with the most important E-Verify requirements​.​​ 

E-Verify State Requirements

Employers often wonder “Is E-Verify required in the various jurisdictions where they operate?”, as the answer can vary. 

Mandatory States: Several states mandate the use of E-Verify for all or most employers. These states include Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Employers in these states must verify the employment eligibility of all new hires using E-Verify.

Public Employers Only: Other states require E-Verify only for public employers and contractors. This includes states like Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. In these states, the requirement applies specifically to government entities and contractors working on public projects.

Local Mandates: In addition to state-level requirements, some local jurisdictions have their own E-Verify mandates. For instance, Denver in Colorado and various counties in Michigan require the use of E-Verify for specific types of employment. These local mandates may apply to certain industries or types of employers, adding another layer of compliance for businesses operating in these areas​​.

E-Verify Requirements by State

Mandatory E-Verify States (For All Businesses)

 The following states require all businesses to use E-Verify for verifying employment eligibility:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah

States with Requirements for Public Employers to Use E-Verify

 In these states, public employers are mandated to use E-Verify:

  • Colorado
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

States with Local/Municipal Requirements for E-Verify

 Certain local or municipal areas within these states have specific E-Verify requirements:

  • Colorado:some text
    • Denver
  • Florida:some text
    • Hernando County
    • Bonita Springs
  • Michigan:some text
    • Ingham County
    • Macomb County
    • Oakland County
  • Missouri:some text
    • O’Fallon
  • Nebraska:some text
    • Fremont
  • Washington:some text
    • Hoquiam
    • Pierce County
    • Woodland

Benefits of Using Docketwise for I-9 Form and E-Verify Compliance

Docketwise offers a range of benefits for managing immigration forms I-9 and E-Verify compliance. Lawyers can expect to boost their processes with the help of:

  • User-Friendly Interface: The platform’s intuitive design simplifies the form completion process, making it accessible for users with varying levels of technical expertise.
  • Comprehensive Case Management: Docketwise provides tools for invoicing, calendaring, secure messaging, task management, and case tracking, which help law firms manage their cases more effectively.
  • Enhanced Productivity: By automating routine tasks and providing real-time updates, Docketwise allows lawyers and businesses to focus more on strategic activities rather than administrative tasks.
  • Multilingual Support: The platform supports multiple languages, making it easier for clients from diverse backgrounds to complete necessary forms and questionnaires.

If you were wondering what is E-Verify used for now you have your answers. E-Verify is a critical tool for ensuring employment eligibility and maintaining a legal workforce. Leveraging technology, such as Docketwise, enhances the efficiency and accuracy of the E-Verify process, ensuring businesses remain compliant with legal requirements. 

This not only helps in adhering to regulations but also supports a fair and equitable workplace. For a detailed overview of how Docketwise can benefit compliance processes, refer to Docketwise's blog post.

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Saja Raoof, Inc. Law Corporation
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Mohammed Ali Syed, Founder and Principal
Syed Law Firm, PLLC
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