E-Verify – The Basics

By The I-9 Team

Now that you’re totally clear (*wink) on your state’s requirements, here are some other E-Verify facts you might find interesting. If this totally bores you, feel free to skip over it and get pumped for next time when I will talk about signing up for E-Verify.


  • E-Verify was established under President Clinton as a pilot program authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).
  • In 2008, President Bush issued an executive order requiring all federal contractors to enroll in and use the system. That same year, Arizona became the first state to mandate it to all employers.

  • E-Verify is currently administered by SSA and USCIS.


  • You are required to post both the E-Verify Notice of Participation poster and the Immigrant and Employee Right Section (IER) Right to Work poster, notifying workers and potential employees that you participate in E-Verify.

  • You cannot use E-Verify to verify the immigration status of an individual. I know this is confusing, but basically what it means is that you won’t see whether someone is a citizen, permanent resident, in H-1B status, etc.; you will just see if they are work authorized.

  • E-Verify does not take the place of an I-9! It is an additional step after the I-9 is completed. It also has the same time constraints, so it must be completed within 3 business days of the employee’s start date. (Remember: that is defined as 3 days AFTER the employee begins work. If they start on a Monday, you must have the I-9 and E-Verify case completed by Thursday. If you’re normally open on weekends, you need to include those in the calculation.)


  • Employers across all industries use E-Verify. See the graphic below from E-Verify:
Measurement Period

(“Other” includes such industries as ambulatory health services, educational services, repair and maintenance, and truck transportation.)

What Else

  • If an employee presents a U.S. passport or U.S. passport card, Permanent Resident Card, or Employment Authorization Document, the employer is required to keep a copy of that document with the I-9 regardless of your policy on keeping – or not keeping – copies of I-9 documents.
  • All List B documents presented must contain a photograph (most List B docs do already, but some don’t).
  • An employer cannot verify existing employees after enrolling. E-Verify is for new hires only.

NEXT TIME: Should I enroll in E-Verify even though I’m not required to?

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