Last week on the WorkBright blog, we published a piece titled, “Everything You Need To Know About Form I-9.” We shared all of our expertise about the form, violations for not filling out the form, and more. This week on the WorkBright blog, we are turning our attention to E-Verify, an extended version of the Form I-9. In today’s post, we’ll be answering important E-Verify basics like:
- What is E-Verify?
- Are you required to use E-Verify?
- How do you enroll in E-Verify?
If you are confused about the E-Verify system, keep reading because we have lots of knowledge to impart today.
What Is E-Verify?
If you want to succeed with E-Verify, you need to know what it is. E-Verify is essentially an extension of form I-9. Instead of going over the documents and filing them away, you can use E-Verify to verify the documents and information you receive from employees. You still want to utilize Form I-9, E-Verify allows you to understand the validity of the documents you get quicker. E-Verify is a web-based system that you can use to confirm everything you collect from employees during the onboarding process.
If you use E-Verify correctly, it can be the best means available to confirm employment eligibility electronically. We know that compliance is vital if you want to avoid costly I-9 violations, so E-Verify can be insanely helpful and cost-saving for employers.
Who Is Required To Use E-Verify?
One of the most important E-Verify basics is around who is required to use the platform. It might not be readily apparent you need to use it if you aren’t up to date on employment law in your state.
Most employers are not currently required to use E-Verify. The current list of those who are required to use E-Verify could change at any moment, but right now, the list is small.
As to be expected, all federal employees and contractors must use E-Verify. Some other groups who need to use E-Verify include those who:
- Operate in Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, or South Carolina, North Carolina (25+ employees), Tennessee (50+ employees), Utah (15+ employees), and Georgia (10+ employees)
- Are a state contractor
- Receive state grants
- Bid on public works projects
- Have used it for one employee or department already
Should You Adopt E-Verify If You Aren’t Required To?
It’s important to understand that you cannot “test” out the E-Verify system with one employee to see if you prefer that system over form I-9. Once you sign the memorandum of understanding (MOU), you are required to use this system on all new hires.
If you are not currently required to use E-Verify, you have to think about your decision to begin using the program. The E-Verify system is excellent because it provides extra security surrounding employment eligibility. On the other hand, you would be required to use it for all your hires going forward, and E-Verify is labor-intensive and prone to data entry errors.
Nevertheless, changes seem to be on the horizon for E-Verify adoption. E-Verify may one day be mandatory for all employers. Whether you want to adopt now or later is up to you and your company.
How Do You Enroll In E-Verify?
Enrolling in the E-Verify process can be challenging, but luckily, the E-Verify website has a complete breakdown of the enrollment process. There are a few things you might want to know about though, so let’s break down some of the most challenging parts of the enrollment process.
Access methods are types of E-Verify accounts that determine who creates and manages the employer’s E-Verify cases. The four access methods include employer, E-Verify employer agent, corporate administrator, and web services.
You need to sign up for how many ever verification locations you intend to have. For example, each of your hiring sites could be equipped to process E-Verify enrollment OR you could have a few centralized locations where all of your E-Verify verifications happen. Each verification location should have an employer account within E-Verify, so it’s important to know how many locations you will have.
For more information and examples, check out E-Verify’s resources on verification locations.
The Importance Of Your E-Verify Admins
You will always start with one program administrator. Your program administrator can add more employees to become admins on your E-Verify account if they would like. Your program administrator must:
- Log in to E-Verify with his or her user ID and temporary password (included in the E-Verify enrollment confirmation e-mail).
- Change his or her password and create security questions.
- Complete the E-Verify tutorial and pass the ~1-hour knowledge test.
If you add new users or admins to your E-Verify account, they must also complete the tutorial and pass the ~1-hour knowledge test.
How Does The E-Verify Verification Process Work?
So, now that you are enrolled in E-Verify, it’s time to verify your first hire! This process happens after the I-9 is complete, but within three days fo your employee’s tenure at your company. The window to submit for E-Verify is tight, just like the timeframe for the I-9 form. Your employees need to get their I-9 form in ASAP so that you don’t have to fret about entering employee information into E-Verify on time.
Here’s what the process looks like:
- Employee Completes I-9: To start the process, your employee completes their I-9 like usual.
- Admin Enters Data: Your E-Verify admin needs to manually input the data from your employee’s I-9 form into E-Verify.
- E-Verify Compares Data: E-Verify’s system electronically compares those records to the US Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration.
- Employment Status Returned: Employer will usually receive an instant response either confirming employment eligibility or indicating their case needs further action (e.g., compare photos.)
- The Case is Closed: Employer receives a case number to file alongside I-9.
If you want more information on the verification process, check out the E-Verify website.
E-Verify can be complicated, but it can be just the compliance mechanism your company is looking for. E-Verify goes beyond what Form I-9 can do, but it’s not required for everyone yet. Hopefully, by reading this article, you can get a look at E-Verify basics and what enrolling in E-Verify means. You should also get a clearer picture of whether or not you want to enroll your company.
Do you want more E-Verify basics? Join us next week as we wrap up this series by discussing some common E-Verify mistakes to avoid and some best practices for your business.