How to Check If an Employee Is Legal

••• Young beautiful doctor in the x-ray laboratory image by Andrejs Pidjass from

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Verifying legal status is one of the first things many employers and human resource departments must do when they are considering hiring an applicant. Many types of businesses typically have to verify legal status upon hiring employees, including government and medical jobs, as well as many agricultural positions and factories. Verification of a person's legal status can also reflect more than just citizenship; in some cases, it may be necessary to verify whether a person is legal from the standpoint of licensure or certification in a certain field. Determining whether a person is legal often requires several pieces of information, and in some cases the verification process can require a small amount of wait time in order retain proper authorization.

Obtain an employee's proper identification documentation, such as a passport or birth certificate, along with his driver's license and any type of license or educational material necessary for the position he is going to perform.

Make copies of any identification or documents, including any type of license or education paperwork needed for the position. Verification of citizenship is required to obtain U.S. passports and birth certificates. However, many documents can be fake or illegally obtained and must be carefully scrutinized for any inconsistencies.

Search local and state voting registries using the employee's birth date and name. A person must be a legal citizen in order to vote; however, in order to determine voter registration you will also need to know the county in which the employee lives since voter registration is divided by county.

Contact the U.S. Immigration Service online or by phone to check legal citizenship status of any employee. To conduct a citizenship search, you will need the name of the individual and birthdate. If you contact the immigration service by phone instead of using the employment verification online, you may need to tell them you are checking legal status for employment reasons. (See References).

Search and verify licensure, registration, certification or proper educational documentation by contacting the license, registering or other educational source. Many employers discover employees have suspended registrations or licenses while trying to verify educational documentation. Many employers also find some employees fraudulently list educational degrees and educational sources on their applications and resumes. Proper identification and verification of licenses and training of employees are necessary in many types of businesses and positions, such as medical and engineering.


  • Look for watermarks and proper identifications marks on any legal documents supplied by an employee.
  • Search any SSN verification databases to insure the Social Security number is a valid issued number; most databases will also list the state in which the Social Security number was issued as well.



About the Author

Kimberly Cummings has been a nurse for more than 28 years and has worked in almost every department in the medical field. She's done legal work and is a nonfiction writer. She has worked in business administration for more than 15 years, been in the military and freelanced for Associated Content as a featured health and wellness contributor as well as a featured travel contributor.

Photo Credits

  • Young beautiful doctor in the x-ray laboratory image by Andrejs Pidjass from