You don't want to risk breaking the law by employing someone who is not legally permitted to work in the U.S. The process for checking employment eligibility is the same for every new employee, whether he's an American citizen or immigrant. After the employee completes a verification form and provides required documents, you submit the information to a government database that compares it against data from multiple federal agencies. If everything checks out, the database will confirm your employee's work eligibility.
Employee Provides Background Information on Form I-9
The first step in verifying a new hire's eligibility to work in the states is to have him complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. You are required by law to have a completed I-9 on file for each employee you hire, whether a U.S. citizen or noncitizen. Your employee must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than his first date of employment, but not before he has accepted your job offer. He provides information such as his name, date of birth and whether he is a U.S. citizen. You, or your authorized representative, must complete Section 2 of this form within three business days of your employee's first workday. In that section, you note the identification the employee provided, such as a passport or a permanent resident card.
Employee Information Submitted to Government Database
Next, you submit the data to E-Verify, an online federal database, where the information is compared with data from the U.S. Department of State, Homeland Security and Social Security Administration. Using E-Verify is voluntary, unless your state requires you to do so. Other than work eligibility, E-Verify does not provide any additional immigration, citizenship or document information about the employee.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: I-9, Employment Eligibility Authorization
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Instructions for Employment Eligibility Verification and USCIS Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Verify Employment Eligibility (E-Verify)
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: E-Verify Overview
- National Conference of State Legislatures: E-Verify
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