E-Verify: Questions and Answers Concerning the United States Government's Electronic Employment Eligibility Verification System

January 5, 2010 Advisory

Employers may not know it, but the Government's electronic employment eligibility verification system, dubbed E-Verify, has been up and running since 1997, and any employer may sign up to use the system. Now, pursuant to Executive Order 12989 signed by President Bush, as of September 8, 2009, certain federal contractors are required to use E-Verify. Moreover, as part of the on-going national debate over immigration, some states legislatures have enacted laws requiring all employers to use this system.

As a result of the sudden increase in E-Verify's visibility, employers are beginning to ask questions: What is E-Verify? Who can use it? Who has to use it? The purpose of this advisory is to answer those questions and provide guidance for employers curious about E-Verify as well as for those federal contractors who are now required to use the system.

What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is a free, internet-based system that allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees by comparing information from employees' Employment Eligibility Verification Form ("Form I-9") to more than 444 million records in the SSA database, and more than 60 million records in DHS immigration databases. E-Verify is operated and maintained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), and is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The system is accessible through any Internet-capable computer with a web-browser of Internet Explorer 5.5 or Netscape 4.7 or higher (with the exception of Netscape 7.0).