The E-Verify logo used by USCIS.

U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States, either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization.

E-Verify is a web-based system which allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use, and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce.

To sign-up or learn more about E-Verify at the website of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services:


To learn more about Employment Eligibility Verification or Form I-9 please click here:


How E-Verify Works

The employer enters the employee’s information from Form I-9 into E-Verify and submits the information to create a case.

E-Verify compares the information to records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, including:

  • U.S. passport and visa information
  • Immigration and naturalization records
  • State -issued driver’s licenses and identity document information
  • Social Security Administration records.

E-Verify sometimes displays a photo for the employer to compare to the photo on the employee’s document to ensure the document photo has not been altered.

If the information matches, the case will receive an Employment Authorized result almost immediately.

If the information does not match, the case will receive a Tentative Non-confirmation result.

Download E-Verify Reference Documents

E-Verify Quick Reference Guide for Employers (PDF)

E-Verify User Manual for Employers

E-Verify User Manual for Corporate Administrators

Other Manuals and Guides for E-Verify

E-Verify Webinars

Learn more about how to use E-Verify by viewing USCIS webinars on E-Verify. This free self-service tool reviews E-Verify, enrollment, how to run a case and more. It’s another good training tool to help your business. Viewers can choose the chapters of their choice or watch the entire 14 minute video in one sitting.


What is E-Verify

E-Verify was established in 1997 as the Basic Pilot Program to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining employment illegally in the United States. In August 2007, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced several steps to tighten and expand employment eligibility verification. They started by requiring all federal contractors and vendors to use E-Verify. The Internet-based program is free and maintained by the United States government. Some states have passed legislation making it mandatory for certain businesses, other states require all employers use E-Verify.

E-Verify compares information from an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from U.S. government records. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there is a mismatch, E-Verify alerts the employer and the employee is allowed to work while he or she resolves the problem; they must contact the appropriate agency to resolve the mismatch within 8 federal government work days from the referral date. The program is operated by the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with Social Security Administration.

According to the DHS website, more than 482,692 employers now use E-Verify. Over 1,400 companies enroll in the program every week. According to DHS, in 2011 a random sample of E-Verify users was surveyed on satisfaction with the program. DHS called the results “outstanding” noting that E-Verify received an overall customer satisfaction rating of 85, which is “based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the national indicator of customer evaluations of the quality of goods and services available to U.S. residents.” DHS notes that E-Verify’s score of 85 is a three-point increase from the 2010 survey and that E-Verify is “a trailblazer when compared to its federal government counterparts” because “E-Verify’s score is 20 points above the current federal government average.

Criticism of E-Verify

E-Verify, however, is not without its critics:

“E-Verify system creates a whole new level of intrusive government oversight of daily life—a bureaucratic “prove yourself to work” system that hurts ordinary people. The system’s inaccuracies could mean undue obstacles to employment for hundreds of thousands of citizens. The scope of private information housed in the system will create enormous privacy and security risks. It will be extremely expensive. And those are just a few of the problems we foresee should E-Verify become mandatory.”



The History of E-Verify

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) made it illegal for employers to knowingly employ unauthorized workers, and E-Verify, then known as Basic Pilot, grew out of the requirement for work-eligibility verification. Basic Pilot, a joint project of U.S. Customs and Immigration Services and the Social Security Administration, is an electronic employment eligibility verification system created in 1997 and implemented in all 50 states. The program is considered voluntary for all employers except the more than 200,000 federal contractors required by DHS.

E-Verify has different processes for citizens and non-citizens who seek to confirm their employment eligibility status.

A new employee is required to fill out an Employment Eligibility Verification form (I-9 form) stating that she is authorized to work in the United States, and produce identification documents. This identification can be a configuration of one or two documents from a list of 29 or so possible items, including a United States passport, driver’s license, Social Security card, and school ID card. Employers do not need to verify the authenticity of the identification documents, but they do need to keep a copy of them on file: for three years after the date or hire or one year after the date employment ends, whichever is later. The documents must merely pass a good-faith test. For example, do they look real? If an employee is found to be unauthorized, the employer must fire the employee. Employers who do not fire unauthorized workers and employers who knowingly hire unauthorized workers may be fined up to $11,000 for each ineligible employee.

An employer can voluntarily sign up for the E-Verify program. In E-Verify, an employer fills out an online form with the new employee’s name, date of birth and Social Security Number, and if the new hire states she is not a U.S. citizen, the “A” Number or I-94 Number within 3 days of the employee’s hire date. This information is checked against Social Security Administration databases “to verify the name, SSN, and date of birth of newly-hired employees, regardless of citizenship.” The SSA “maintains a record of each Social Security card, both original and replacement cards, in a system of records called the Numerical Identification File which includes “all relevant data connected to the issuance of the Social Security card, including the appropriate codes related to citizenship status and the type of Social Security card issued.” There are 3 types of Social Security cards, and an individual is assigned a particular type dependent on the citizenship status and work-authorization status of the individual.

If the work authorization cannot be determined by the data in the SSA databases or if the employee is a non-citizen, her data is then checked against the Department of Homeland Security databases to verify employment eligibility. If eligibility cannot be confirmed, E-Verify sends a “tentative non-confirmation” of work authorization status to the employer. There are several reasons for a “tentative non-confirmation” determination including, “when the SSN, name, or date of birth does not match the information in SSA’s database or if a death indicator is present,” “if the new hire indicated he or she was a U.S. citizen and SSA’s records did not show that the person was a U.S. citizen,” or if the DHS database does not show the newly-hired non-citizen as authorized for employment.”

The employer must inform the employee of the “tentative non-confirmation” and the employee has 8 business days to contest this decision. If the employee contests the determination, SSA or DHS “is required to determine work-authorization status within 10 Federal working days.” If the review by DHS or SSA still cannot determine if the employee is eligible to work in the United States, a “final non-confirmation” is issued. A “final non-confirmation” also is issued if the employee does not contest the “tentative non-confirmation.” A “final non-confirmation” means the employee must be fired.


Employers Enrolled in Basic Pilot/E-Verify and Cases Verified, for 1997-2010

A Video About E-Verify

Software Tools to Help with E-Verify


Developed by technical innovators and experts in immigration law, I-9 Advantage™ automates the I-9 process with an easy-to-use cloud-based electronic I-9 solution. Easily create error-proof form I-9s with a real-time dashboard, and get 1-click access to robust reporting tools.


Meet Guardian, the leading Electronic I-9 software by LawLogix.  By automating I-9 and E-Verify processes Guardian reduces errors, increases efficiency and improves records management for auditing purposes.

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