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Updated: June 6, 2024

E-Verify state requirements for 2024 plus employer compliance guidance as adoption rises

Published By:

Jon Davis

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E-Verify is a federally operated online system that matches up government records with information obtained from Form I-9, a document that all new employees are required to fill out. The program was designed to help employers verify the work eligibility status of new employees.

Fast facts about E-Verify for employers

  • More businesses are starting to use E-Verify to verify new employees
  • E-Verify is free to use and takes employers only minutes to enroll and register
  • All federal contractors are required to use E-Verify in their business
  • Penalties are steep for those who do not comply with usage requirements

Currently, all federal contractors are required to use E-Verify to verify employment eligibility for any employee that is currently working on a federal contract. That said, in recent years several states and local jurisdictions have started requiring private employers to use E-Verify. But how do you know if you’re doing business in a state with an E-Verify mandate and what to do if you are?

 

This guide explains what E-Verify is, why it exists, and what employers should know to stay compliant as it continues to be adopted.

What is E-Verify used for?

Established in 1996, E-Verify is a free program that is used to certify that any potential employee is authorized — and eligible — to work in the United States. How does this work? By confirming the accuracy of information that’s included on Form I-9 information compared to what the US Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration have on file.

 

Adoption continues to pick up steam as more than 1 million employers across the country are using E-Verify, with more than 1,500 participating companies joining each week.

 

In addition to helping companies understand who is eligible to work in the US, there are other features that E-Verify has that employers can take advantage of.

 

These include:

  • 24-hour access to the system
  • Instant results
  • Only a browser and internet access needed to use the application
  • User access flexibility for your employees

 

Now that we better understand the purpose of E-Verify, and some of the reasons why it’s getting more attention, let’s find out how employers can get started with it.

How employers set up E-Verify

The first step a company that’s interested in using E-Verify will need to take is enrolling their company. An enrollment point of contact is established during the process and will serve in that role from the starting line all the way to the finish. Once enrolled, employers are able to register users who will be accessing the application in the future.

Pro tip

Once you get the ball rolling on the enrollment process, there’s no way to save your progress online. Once you start, accessing the data in a dashboard later is not possible, so make sure that you have everything you need before you begin. The US Department of Homeland Security provides this employer checklist to help get the process started.

We should point out that any business, such as federal contractors or states where E-Verify use is mandatory, must enroll in the system within 30 days of the federal contract being awarded. In addition, federal employers are required to verify any new hires no later than the third business day after the employee begins work.

 

E-Verify from hire to verification

In a nutshell, E-Verify is designed to be used with Form I-9, which any employee hired after November 6, 1986, is required to fill out.

 

When completing the I-9, an employee must provide their employer with certain documents that will be used in the E-Verify process. These documents usually include:

 

  • Photo I.D.
  • Social Security number (To use E-Verify, an employee must have a Social Security number)

 

E-Verify also has a photo matching feature, which can sync a photo in E-Verify against a photo that the new hire provided when completing the I-9.

 

Just remember that e-verification is only supposed to be used with the following:

 

  • Permanent resident card
  • Employment authorization document
  • U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
  • E-Verify also verifies driver’s license information that is included on an I-9

 

More information on photo matching is available here. So, what happens once you have a document that’s ready to be checked? Here are some possible scenarios.

 

Successful sync

If the information submitted to E-Verify matches the information that’s on the I-9, the user will receive an Employment Authorized result. This is likely the result that both the employer and employee are looking for.

 

Mismatch 

Should there be a disconnect where the details don’t match up, the system user will receive a tentative nonconfirmation result, which indicates that further investigation is required.

 

E-Verify may also need more time to match the submitted information, placing the case in continuance if additional research is required before making a determination. Though it’s not “red flag” territory, both the new hire and employer need to be a little patient. The E-Verify agency provides a sample email of what is typically sent if there’s a Tentative Nonconfirmation.

 

Unsuccessful alignment

If a match cannot be made either electronically or manually, employers will receive a final nonconfirmation notice. Employers must notify an employee as soon as possible if a nonconfirmation notice is received. This is the scenario that all parties were probably hoping to avoid.

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Why is understanding E-Verify requirements a must for businesses?

By law, all federal contractors must enroll in and use E-Verify for any employee hired to work on the contract. A new contractor must enroll in the system within 30 days of the award date of the contract. They must also verify all employees working on the contract within 90 calendar days of enrollment. Any new employee added to the contract must be verified within three days of their hire date.

 

In addition to federal contractors, there are some states that have made the use of E-Verify mandatory. Any business located in a state where E-Verify is mandated must abide by the same rules established for federal contractors.

 

Why is it important for employers to stay compliant?

Any business required by law to use E-Verify may want to take a closer look at the program guidelines and learn how to stay compliant. For businesses that let this fall by the wayside, the penalties are more than just a slap on the wrist.

 

  • A business could be deemed ineligible to receive federal contracts
  • If found to be noncompliant, there could be a loss of current federal, state, or city contracts
  • Ignoring E-Verify could even result in the revocation of a company’s business license

 

Next, let’s look at where the states that are using E-Verify is gaining adoption.

Which states require E-Verify in 2024?

Currently, 23 states require the use of E-Verify for some public or private employers. However, several states offer exceptions for small businesses. In addition, several other states require all public employers to use the system. There are local or municipal requirements for using E-Verify have been put into place.

 

State or local jurisdiction
E-Verify required?
Alabama All private Alabama employers are required to use E-Verify.
Arizona All private Arizona employers are required to use E-Verify.
Colorado May only require public employers to use
Denver, Colorado Contractors must use E-Verify as a condition of being awarded a city contract.
Florida All private Florida employers with 25 or more employees must use E-Verify.
Hernando County, Florida Contractors and subcontractors doing business in the county must use E-Verify.
Georgia All private Georgia employers with 11 or more employees must use E-Verify.
Idaho May only require public employers to use
Indiana May only require public employers to use
Louisiana All private Louisiana employers must use E-Verify or retain work authorization documents.
Michigan May only require public employers to use
Minnesota May only require public employers to use
Mississippi All private Mississippi employers must use E-Verify.
Missouri May only require public employers to use
Nebraska May only require public employers to use
North Carolina All private North Carolina employers with 25 or more employees must use E-Verify.
Oklahoma May only require public employers to use
Pennsylvania May only require public employers to use
South Carolina All private South Carolina employers must use E-Verify.
Tennessee All private employers with 35 or more employees must use E-Verify.
Texas May only require public employers to use
Utah All private Utah employers with more than 15 employees must use E-Verify.
Virginia All private employers with 50 or more employees must use E-Verify.
West Virginia May only require public employers to use
Woodland, Washington Any company with a city contract exceeding $10,000 must use E-Verify.

 

Other requirements

There are other requirements that employers using E-Verify must abide by:

  • Employers are required to either write the E-Verify case number on the employee’s I-9 or print the case verification and file it with the I-9
  • E-Verify does not replace I-9s, which are still required to be completed by any new employee
  • Any employer that uses E-Verify must post the Right to Work and E-Verify Participation notice in a conspicuous area of their business. There are links to both of these posters in the resources section below.

 

E-Verify resources for employers

 

Understanding E-Verify can make good business sense

To make sure that new hires are authorized to work in the US, adding E-Verify to the new hire process could be worth a closer look. This verification system is already required in over 20 US states and could reduce the time it takes to determine whether a new hire is eligible to legally work. The takeaway is that even though the use of E-Verify is not mandatory in all states, employers will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their employees are who they say they are and that they’re authorized to work in the US.

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Jon Davis is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at OnPay. He has over 15 years of experience writing for small and growing businesses. Jon lives and works in Atlanta.