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Federal Contractors Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. As a current or prospective Federal contractor, am I required by the Executive Order or the proposed rule to enroll in E-Verify now?

Not at this time.  At this time, the E-Verify program remains a voluntary program for employers, including federal contractors.  The Executive Order instructs Federal agencies to require contractor participation in E-Verify as a term of future contracts, and the proposed rule provides detailed guidance on how that requirement is to be implemented.  However, the proposed rule is not a final rule; it is a proposal that is open for public comment at this time.  There may be substantive changes to the rule before it becomes final.  Moreover, the final rule will not be effective until 30 days after publication.  Under the proposed rule, you would only be required to enroll in E-Verify if and when you enter into a Federal contract or subcontract that requires participation in E-Verify as a term of the contract.  Although Federal Contractors are not yet required to participate in E-Verify, you are encouraged to enroll in E-Verify now to verify the employment eligibility of your new hires.


2. What are the responsibilities of Federal Contractors who choose to participate in E-Verify?

Once the proposed amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation have been finalized, we anticipate that the responsibilities of Federal Contractors participating in E-Verify will change in accordance with the final FAR rule.  Upon issuance of a final rule, the E-Verify website will contain updated information specifically designed to assist federal contractors covered by the final rule, and their employees.  This material will include the revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that covers affected government contractors, and frequently asked questions and answers.

A proposed MOU that sets forth the anticipated legal obligations and responsibilities of Federal Contractors, as well as the proposed amendments and comments received may be viewed on the regulatory docket. For access to the regulatory docket click onto “” under "Related Links" at the right side of this page. In the “Search” field type: E-Verify for Federal Contractors.
The legal obligations and responsibilities of all employers that currently use E-Verify can be found in the current E-Verify MOU.  That MOU  may be viewed by clicking onto the link at the right side of this page. 

It is important for all employers to recognize that those who use E-Verify must be thoroughly trained in appropriate E-Verify procedures and policies.  The failure to use the program appropriately may lead to liability for the company, including back wages for employees who have been subject to adverse action, and expulsion from the program.

3. Which employees may I verify through the E-Verify system?

As a voluntary participant in the E-Verify Program, all employers are required to verify all new hires at designated sites, following completion of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (Form I-9).  The proposed FAR rule covers verification of existing employees when they are assigned to work on a covered Federal contract.  However, until such time as the FAR rule is deemed final and effective, employers are prohibited from verifying or re-verifying current employees through E-Verify.


4. May I run an existing employee through E-Verify at this time?

No.  All employers are prohibited from running existing employees through E-Verify at this time.  The proposed FAR rule is subject to comment from the public, consideration of these comments by the government, and subsequent issuance of a final rule in the Federal Register with a stated effective date.  Until the FAR rule is published in the Federal Register as a final rule, existing program rules apply to all employers using the program.  Under the proposed FAR rule, only those employers that are awarded a contract with the Federal Government that includes the contract term required by the final FAR rule may run existing employees through E-Verify, and then, only if such employees work on the covered contract.


5. Why should I consider participating in E-Verify?

E-Verify is currently the only means available for employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of hew hires. E-Verify helps protect jobs for authorized U.S. workers and helps U.S. employers maintain a legal workforce.


6. How does E-Verify work?

E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that allows employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees, regardless of citizenship.  Based on the information provided by the employee on their Form I-9, E-Verify electronically checks this information against records contained in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.    


7. How do I begin using E-Verify?

Before you can start using E-Verify, you need to enroll your company in the program.  When you enroll your company, you will be asked to provide basic contact information for your company and agree to follow the rules of the program.  At the end of the enrollment process, you will be required to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that provides the terms of agreement between you the Federal Contractor, the SSA, and DHS.
Select the "E-Verify Registration" link listed under"Related Links" on the right side of this page to begin the enrollment process for your company.

Once you have completed the enrollment process, USCIS will review your information and activate your account. After the account is activated, you will receive an email with your logon instructions, user identification, and password.


8.   May I use E-Verify prior to hiring a job applicant?

No.  All users, including federal contractors, are prohibited from using E-Verify prior to hiring an applicant. By signing the MOU to participate in E-Verify, all employers agree not to use E-Verify for pre-employment screening of job applicants, support for any unlawful employment practice, or any other use not authorized by the MOU.  Should the employer use E-Verify procedures for any purpose other than as authorized by the MOU, the employer may be subject to appropriate legal action and the immediate termination of its access to SSA and DHS information.


9.   What information is required to conduct an initial verification using E-Verify?

All new hires are required to complete the Form I-9 before an E-Verify query is conducted.  Federal Contractors, who are enrolled participants, must submit a query that includes information from sections 1 and 2 of the Form I-9, including:

a) Employee's name and date of birth
b) Social Security Number (SSN)
c) Attested citizenship status (US Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, or Alien Authorized to Work)
d) Alien number or I-94 number, if applicable
e) Type of document presented for the Form I-9 to establish identity and/or work eligibility status
f) In some cases the document number and expiration date

Note that recently admitted asylees and refugees may not have a Social Security number at the time of hire; for those cases, the employer should run the person through E-Verify after the employee has received their number from the Social Security Administration.


10. What is the required timeframe for conducting an employment eligibility check through E-Verify on a newly hired employee?

The earliest the employer may initiate a query is after an individual accepts an offer of employment and after the employee and employer complete the Form I-9.  For newly hired employees, the employer must initiate the query no later than three business days after the newly hired employee starts work for pay.


11.   How quickly will I know if an employee is employment authorized?

Response to the initial query is received within seconds of submitting the query.  Most employees are immediately determined authorized for employment.  A Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) occurs when the employee’s information is compared to government records and work authorization can not be immediately confirmed. A TNC may be issued by either SSA or DHS, depending on where the information mismatch occurred.  A TNC does not necessarily mean that the worker is not work authorized or that the information provided was incorrect.  Additional guidance for employers on how to proceed with a TNC is outlined in the E-Verify User Guide and on-line tutorial.


12. I have already enrolled and received my user name and password.  However, I am having difficulty locating the E-Verify site; where can I find it?

See the "Log in to E-Verify" link listed under"Related Links" on the right side of this page.

13.  Does participation in E-Verify provide safe harbor from work site enforcement?

An employer who verifies work authorization under E-Verify has established a rebuttable presumption that it has not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien. Participation in the program does not provide a “safe harbor” from worksite enforcement, however.


14.   If my company participates in E-Verify, are we required to notify applicants of our participation?

Yes. All employers using E-Verify most notify applicants of their use of the program.  As an employer participating in E-Verify, you are required to post the notice provided by DHS indicating your company’s participation in the E-Verify program as well as the anti-discrimination notice issued by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices at the Department of Justice.  The posting must take place in an area where it can be viewed by applicants and new hires.  Once you are enrolled, and able to log into the E-Verify online system, these notices can be found in the “On-line Resources” section.
Again, this and all responsibilities of Federal Contractors/Employers in the program are outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding.  Remember, your employees have the right to know that you participate in E-Verify before you enter an E-Verify query on that employee.


15. What if I have additional questions?

The E-Verify Quick Reference Guide, current User Manual, and Tutorial all contain instructions and other related materials on E-Verify procedures and requirements.  Once you enroll for E-Verify and are able to log into the system, these items are available under the “On-line Resources”.  In addition, you may also call the E-Verify Customer Support at 1-888-464-4218.  For more information about unfair employment practices and verifying the employment eligibility of your employees, you may contact the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, at 1-800-255-7688 or see the link listed under"Related Links" on the right side of this page.


Last updated: 06/09/2008

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