E-Verify is a web-based system operated by the U.S. government—specifically by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—that can be used by U.S. employers to verify whether a particular individual is authorized to work in the U.S.
E-Verify is free and easy. It is available to employers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
When a new employee is hired, all employers in the U.S. are required to complete Form I-9, where the employee must provide proof of identification and work authorization.
The employer would enter the relevant information from the I-9 into the E-Verify system.
E-Verify can verify work eligibility within a few seconds, based on comparing the records from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). It would either show that the employee is approved, or it would show what the problem is. If there is an error that mistakenly shows that the employee is not authorized to work, the employee has the right to contest.
Sometimes, E-Verify may display a case result that requires additional action, and that is called an E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC). It means that the information entered by the employer from Form I-9 does not match government records. The employee has the right to contest the TNC and the right not to incur adverse actions because of the TNC.
Employers are not supposed to use E-Verify as a prescreening for potential candidates. Instead, they should use E-Verify once they have hired the person.
E-Verify is a voluntary program for most employers. However, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regular (FAR) E-Verify clause must enroll in E-Verify as a condition of federal contracting. Additionally, employers are required to use the E-Verify system in some states as a condition of getting a business license.
OPT Extension for Students
Foreign students studying in the U.S.A. are normally given the OPT (Work Permit) for one year once they graduate. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students are given an extension of an additional 24 months. However, in order to get that extension, they must work for an employer that participates in the E-Verify program.
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Even before the employer checks employment eligibility, prospective employees can check myE-Verify, which has a self-check feature that allows them to confirm that their government records are accurate. Additionally, its self-lock feature enables people to lock their Social Security Number in the E-Verify system to help protect against employment-related identity fraud.