On March 21, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the launch of E-Verify Self Check—an innovative service that allows individuals in the United States to check their employment eligibility status before formally seeking employment.
E-Verify Self Check is the first online E-Verify program offered directly to workers and job seekers. This voluntary, free, fast and secure service was developed through a partnership between DHS and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
As of March 21, 2011, E-Verify Self Check is available to users who maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Idaho, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia or the District of Columbia.
E-Verify Self Check and Workers
E-Verify Self Check gives individuals in the United States access to their employment eligibility status and gives them an opportunity to submit corrections to their DHS and SSA records, if necessary, before applying for jobs.
The E-Verify Self Check process consists of four steps:
Users enter identifying information online (such as name, date of birth and address).
Users confirm their identity by answering demographic and/or financial questions generated by a third-party identity assurance service.
Users enter work eligibility information such as a Social Security number and, depending on citizenship status, an Alien Registration number.
E-Verify Self Check checks users’ information against relevant SSA and DHS databases and returns information on users’ employment eligibility status.
The information that users provide to E-Verify Self Check and the results of an E-Verify Self Check query are never shared with users’ employers or prospective employers. The results of a Self Check query do not replace the results of an employer E-Verify query.
An individual’s status or information may change between the time they use Self Check and when an employer uses E-Verify. Accordingly, if E-Verify Self Check confirms that an individual is authorized to work in the United States, it does not necessarily mean that a future E-Verify query will find the same individual to be employment authorized.
If Self Check is unable to confirm employment authorization, individuals are provided with instructions on how to resolve a potential data mismatch in their SSA or DHS records. These instructions are available in English and Spanish.
In addition to E-Verify Self Check, individuals have several ways to confirm their employment eligibility and correct their government records if necessary. They may:
Wait until an employer checks their employment eligibility through E-Verify. If issues arise, employers will inform individuals of the next steps.
Request a Social Security Statement from SSA. This statement includes the individual’s full name, date of birth and the last four digits of his or her Social Security number as they appear in SSA records.
Verifying the statement’s accuracy may prevent mismatches during an E-Verify query.
Contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 800-375-5283, TTY 800-767-1833.
Self Check will not affect a user’s credit score. Users viewing their credit reports after using Self Check will see a record of a “soft hit” or “soft inquiry” in the report. Soft hits are not shown to businesses and are not used to calculate credit scores.
Individuals cannot be required to use E-Verify Self Check to prove work authorization. Individuals who are asked by employers or anyone else to run a Self Check query to prove that they are authorized to work in the United States, or who believe they are victims of any other type of discrimination or unfair labor practice related to Self Check, should notify the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices at 800-255-7688.
For general inquiries about Self Check, contact the E-Verify Employee Hotline at (888) 897-7781.
E-Verify Self Check and Employers
E-Verify Self Check is expected to reduce the number of data mismatches employers experience when using E-Verify and, as a result, will decrease the amount of time and resources they spend resolving those mismatches.
E-Verify Self Check is not for employer use. Employers may not require workers to use Self Check or show Self Check results.
E-Verify employers must continue to run an E-Verify query on each new hire (or existing employee, if applicable), even if the new hires have previously verified their employment status through Self Check. The results of a Self Check query do not replace the results of an E-Verify query.
Employers may not accept the results of a Self Check query as a document to fulfill the requirements of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. Only documents on the Form I-9 List of Acceptable Documents may be used to complete Form I-9.
Privacy and Security
E-Verify Self Check uses an identity assurance process to ensure that an individual can perform an employment eligibility check only on him- or herself. Before allowing anyone to check his or her employment eligibility status, E-Verify Self Check confirms that the person attempting to run a check is who he or she claims to be with an independent, secure identity assurance service that generates an identity assurance quiz based on key information provided by the user.
The questions and answers included in the identity assurance quiz are not shared beyond the user and the independent identity assurance service; DHS is only notified that a user’s identity is verified.
Self Check purges all personal information used in the identity assurance process at the end of the user session and maintains a record of personal information only as long as necessary. For example, users’ addresses are only stored by Self Check until users complete the identity assurance process, as they are not needed later in the process.
The independent identity assurance service stores users’ personal information for one year as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). That information is never shared, except where required by law.
Self Check will be unable to generate an identity assurance quiz if:
A user enters information incorrectly, preventing the independent service from locating any records on the individual;
A user has recently attempted to take the identity assurance quiz too many times;
A user lacks a sufficient financial record because he or she recently entered the country or the U.S. workforce;
A user, typically a victim of identity theft, has reported certain fraud alerts to the state or a credit bureau; or
A user has placed a security freeze on his or her credit report.
Individuals may still be authorized to work in the United States even if Self Check is unable to generate an identity assurance quiz or if an error prevents users from successfully completing the identity assurance quiz. Contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 800-375-5283, TTY 800-767-1833 for further assistance.
Additional privacy and security protections built in to the Self Check service include:
Defenses to prevent phishing attacks and attempts to circumvent the identity assurance process;
Safeguards to block IP addresses and deny service to anyone attempting to access Self Check from outside the continental United States and to block usage by hackers who attempt to attack the service;
Measures to prevent imposters from running a stolen identity through Self Check in cases where an individual has reported identity theft to a credit bureau and placed a “fraud lock” on his or her identity; and
Ongoing and active monitoring by USCIS to prevent misuse.
Additional Facts About E-Verify Self Check:
USCIS partnered with SSA to identify one state in each of SSA’s regions to participate in the first launch phase of this new service. Additionally, the District of Columbia was chosen to enable USCIS headquarters to access the service for training, evaluation and system improvements.
Following the initial release and review of the service, USCIS will work to expand Self Check’s availability as quickly as possible, with the goal of expanding nationwide within 12 months.
USCIS estimates that Self Check users will generate about 850,000 to 1 million queries in the first year, with approximately 8 million queries per year after the program is expanded nationwide. The servers that house E-Verify databases have been tested and are capable of handling these additional queries.
E-Verify is administered by USCIS in partnership with SSA. For more information about E-Verify, please visit www.uscis.gov/everify. For more information on E-Verify Self Check, visit at www.uscis.gov or call the E-Verify Employee Hotline at (888) 897-7781.