1.2 E-Verify: The Web-Based Verification Companion to Form I-9

Form I-9 has been the foundation of the verification process since 1986, when employers began verifying the employment authorization and identity of new hires under IRCA. To improve the accuracy and integrity of this process, USCIS operates an electronic employment eligibility confirmation system called E-Verify.

E-Verify is a web-based system that allows employers and other participants to confirm the eligibility of their newly hired employees to work in the U.S. by electronically matching information on the employee’s Form I-9 against records available to the Social Security Administration and DHS. E-Verify is free and is available to participants in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Employers who participate in E-Verify still must complete Form I-9 for each newly hired employee in the United States. E-Verify participants may accept any combination of documents from the Lists of Acceptable Documents on Form I-9, but if the employee chooses to present a List B and C combination, the List B (identity only) document must have a photograph.

If you participate in E-Verify, after completing a Form I-9 for your new employee, you must create a case in E-Verify that includes information from Sections 1 and 2 of the employee’s Form I-9. After creating the case, you will receive a response from E-Verify regarding the employment authorization of the employee. In some cases, E-Verify will provide a response indicating a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC). This does not necessarily mean the employee is unauthorized to work in the United States. Rather, it means that E-Verify is unable to immediately confirm the employee’s authorization to work. In the case of a TNC, you must notify the employee. If the employee wishes to take action to resolve a TNC result, the employee should contact the appropriate agency (DHS and/or the Social Security Administration) within the prescribed time period stated in the Referral Date Confirmation that you will provide to the employee, and as described in the E-Verify User Manual.

When using E-Verify, participating employers must also follow certain procedures that were designed to protect employees from unfair employment actions:

  • You must use E-Verify for all new hires, both U.S. citizens and noncitizens, and may not use the system selectively.
  • You may not use E-Verify to prescreen applicants for employment, check employees hired before you became a participant in E-Verify (except contractors with a federal contract that requires use of E-Verify), or reverify employees who have temporary employment authorization.
  • You may not terminate or take other adverse action against an employee based on a TNC.

E-Verify strengthens the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process that all employers, by law, must follow. By adding E-Verify to the existing Form I-9 process, participants can benefit from knowing that they have taken an additional constructive step toward maintaining a legal workforce.

For more information about E-Verify, including enrollment, visit e-verify.gov or contact E-Verify at 888-464-4218.

Federal Contractors

On Nov. 14, 2008, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council issued a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (FAR case 2007-013, Employment Eligibility Verification). The regulation requires contractors with a federal contract that contains a FAR E-Verify clause to use E-Verify for their new hires and all employees (existing and new) assigned to the contract. Federal contracts issued on or after Sept. 8, 2009, as well as older contracts that have been modified may contain the FAR E-Verify clause.

Federal contractors who have a federal contract that contains the FAR E-Verify clause must follow special rules when completing and updating Form I-9. For more information, please see the E-Verify Supplemental Guide for Federal Contractors available at e-verify.gov.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 04/27/2020