E-Verify works by comparing the information employees provide on the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) against millions of government records. Generally, if the information matches, the employee receives an "Employment Authorized" response in E-Verify. If the information does not match, the employee is given an opportunity to resolve the problem. The employers must understand and follow the proper procedures in E-Verify, which are designed to ensure fair treatment and due process for all employees.
Most employees have their employment authorization confirmed during the E-Verify initial verification process. Occasionally, E-Verify cannot instantly confirm employment authorization because a manual review of the records in government databases is necessary. For those cases requiring manual review, E-Verify will first return a "DHS Verification in Process" response, and will then usually provide an initial verification result within 24 to 48 hours.
In some cases, the information from an employee's Form I-9 does not match government records and E-Verify will display a temporary case status that may require additional action. In these cases, E-Verify will return a response called a "Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC)." A TNC response means that the Social Security Administration (SSA) and/or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) could not confirm that the employee's information matches government records. It does not mean an employee is unauthorized to work or is an illegal immigrant as there are legitimate reasons why an employee may receive this result.
There are several types of TNCs, and the type displayed in E-Verify depends on which government agency is involved and the cause for the mismatch:
- SSA Tentative Nonconfirmation: This response indicates that the employee's information could not be verified by SSA. The employee must be notified of the TNC response and referred to SSA.
- DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation: There are two types of "DHS TNCs." The first type means that DHS was unable to verify employment eligibility and the employee is instructed to call DHS to find out how to resolve the discrepancy.
The second type is caused by a photographic mismatch, meaning the employer indicated that the photograph displayed by E-Verify did not match the photograph on the employee's document. If the employee contests this type of TNC, the employer must either scan and upload an image of the document or send a copy of the document via express mail at the employer's expense.