What You Need to Know About Form I-9 and E-Verify

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Employers often think of E-Verify as the electronic equivalent of the Form I-9; this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, Form I-9 and E-Verify are two distinct (but related) processes.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Form I-9 is used by an employer to verify an employee’s identity and eligibility to be employed in the United States. An E-Verify check compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 with the data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration and certain states’ DMV records to confirm employment eligibility.

An Employer’s participation in E-Verify does not replace Form I-9 requirements or the need to comply.

E-Verify participation benefits employers in ensuring a legal workforce and the presumption of good faith compliance, should there be I-9 audits (which have increased drastically over the past few years, by the way). E-Verify participation is also a requirement for an employer, if they are a Federal Contractor or employs people in certain states where the use of E-verify is mandated by the state law.

Here is a table outlining the major differences between Form I-9 and E-Verify:

Form I-9 and E-Verify

Form I-9 has three sections:
Section 1. Completed by employee no later than first day of work for pay
Section 2. Completed by employer no later than third business day employee starts work for pay
Section 3. Completed by the employer if employee’s work authorization expires or if employee is rehired within 3 years of the date the Form I-9 was originally completed (a new Form I-9 may also be completed)

List of Acceptable Documents for Form I-9

Employees may present one selection from List A or a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C

List A: documents that establish both identity and employment authorization

  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
  • Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)
  • Foreign passport containing a temporary I-551 stamp or temporary I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa
  • Employment Authorization Document that contains a photograph (Form I-766)
  • For a nonimmigrant alien authorized to work for a specific employer because of his or her status:
    • Foreign passport; and
    • Form I-94 or Form I-94A that has the following:
      • Same name as the passport; and
      • An endorsement of the alien’s nonimmigrant status as long as that period of endorsement has not yet expired and the proposed employment is not in conflict with any restrictions or limitations identified on the form
  • Passport from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) or the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) with Form I-94 or Form I-94A indicating nonimmigrant admission under the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and the FSM or RMI

List B: documents that establish identity

  • Driver’s license or identification card issued by state or outlying possession of the United States provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • ID card issued by federal, state or local government agencies or entities, provided it contains a photograph or information such as name, date of birth, gender, height, eye color, and address
  • School ID with a photograph
  • Voter’s registration card
  • U.S. military card or draft record
  • Military dependent’s ID card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
  • Native American tribal document
  • Driver’s license issued by a Canadian government authority
  • *For persons under age 18 who are unable to present a document listed above:
    • School record or report card
    • Clinic, doctor, or hospital record
    • Day-care or nursery school record

List C: documents that establish employment authorization

  • A Social Security Account Number card, unless the card includes one of the following restrictions:
    • Not valid for employment
    • Valid for work only with INS authorization
    • Valid for work only with DHS authorization
  • Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State (Form FS-545)
  • Certification of Report of Birth issued by the Department of State (Form DS-1350)
  • Original or certified copy of birth certificate issued by a State, county, municipal authority, or territory of the United States bearing an official seal
  • Native American tribal document
  • U.S. Citizen ID card (Form I-197)
  • Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179)
  • Employment authorization document issued by the Department of Homeland Security

For example:

  • Jimmy could provide his new employer with his unexpired U.S. Passport to complete Form I-9. If Jimmy does not have an unexpired U.S. Passport, he could provide his new employer with his unexpired driver’s license and birth certificate.
  • Sarah could provide her new employer with an unexpired Permanent Resident Card to complete Form I-9. Sarah could also provide her new employer with a combination of her School ID Card and her Identification Card for Use of Resident Citizen in the United States (Form I-179).
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Sabrina Lu

Sabrina Lu is a professional writer based in the Orange County area with a degree in Writing from San Francisco State University. Although technical writing was the focus in her studies, Sabrina also enjoys creative writing and the various forms of expression. She values strong opinions and is always interested in learning about different perspectives. Her free time is usually filled with sandy beaches, fluffy animals, fusion foods, and the latest beauty trends.

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