Frequently Asked Questions
E-Verify and the Federal Contractor Rule
- What is E-Verify?
- What are the benefits of using E-Verify?
- What is the federal contractor rule? Is The Ohio State University considered a federal contractor?
- As a federal contractor, which employees will Ohio State verify through the E-Verify system?
- How will prospective employees be notified of Ohio State’s participation in E-Verify?
- Where can I find out more information on E-Verify and the Federal Contractor Rule?
- Who do we need to have a Form I-9 for?
- I have an employee who was hired before November 7, 1986 and therefore no I-9 was filled out for them. This employee retired and came back after November 7, 1986. Do I need to fill out a Form I-9 for them?
- My employee left the University for a short time and came back. I still have their original I-9. Do they need to fill out a new Form I-9?
- Do I need to fill out a Form I-9 for student employees?
- How long do I have to keep I-9s for terminated employees? What is the Form I-9 retention schedule?
- Is a new Form I-9 required for an individual who changes their name as a result of marriage or divorce?
- The Form I-9 indicates that “State employment agencies may omit the date the employee began employment”. Does this mean we do not need to write the date of hire?
- I have an employee who lives and works outside of the United States. Do I need to complete an I-9 for this employee?
Form I-9 and E-Verify
- Do employees need to provide their Social Security Number on the Form I-9?
- As a participant in E-Verify, are there any additional requirements for prospective employees to complete the Form I-9?
- If an employee presented expired documents when his/her Form I-9 was presented, do I need to him/her fill out a new Form I-9?
- My employee presented documents that were current and valid at the time they were presented but they have now expired. Do I need to have him/her fill out a new Form I-9?
- Are there any cases where I will need to re-verify my employee’s work authorization?
- What documents am I required to photocopy?
I-9 Database (I9Db)
- What is the I-9 Database (I9Db)?
- How do I log in to the I9Db?
- How is access to the I-9 Database determined?
- Which I-9s do I enter into the I-9 Database?
- Do I have to enter I-9s for individuals who have been terminated?
- Do I have to enter I-9s for student employees?
- What are the steps to submit an employee into the I-9 Database if they do not yet have a Social Security Number?
- Once I have entered my Forms I-9 into the I9Db, can I destroy the paper copy?
- How do I know who I will need to enter into the I-9 Database?
- When may an employer initiate a query under E-Verify?
- Can E-Verify be used to prescreen potential employees?
- My employee was already verified through E-Verify with a previous employer. Does the E-Verify query need to be initiated again?
- How are noncitizen workers verified?
E-Verify Responses and Tentative Non-Confirmations
- What are the possible responses to the E-Verify submission?
- Who is responsible for communicating Tentative Nonconfirmations?
- How are E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmations resolved?
- What are the possible E-Verify responses once a Tentative Nonconfirmation has been contested?
- Do employees continue to work during the verification process?
- What happens if an employee chooses not to contest a Tentative Nonconfirmation or does not contact DHS or SSA within 8 federal government workdays?
E-Verify and the Federal Contractor Rule
E-Verify is an Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that allows employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees, regardless of citizenship. Based on the information provided by the employee on his or her Form I-9, E-Verify checks this information electronically against records contained in DHS and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases.
E-Verify is currently the best means available for employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their newly hired employees. E-Verify virtually eliminates Social Security mismatch letters, improves the accuracy of wage and tax reporting, protects jobs for authorized U.S. workers, and helps U.S. employers maintain a legal workforce.
- Reduces unauthorized employment
- Improves the accuracy of wage and tax reporting
- Verification results are returned within seconds
- The system includes data to confirm the citizenship status of naturalized U.S. citizens
- The system includes a Photo Screening Tool to detect identify theft
- Participation provides the extension of optional practical training for foreign students in F-1 nonimmigrant status
Yes, Ohio State is considered a federal contractor. The rule states that federal contractors and subcontractors will be required to begin using the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ E-Verify system starting September 8, 2009, to verify their employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States. Federal contracts awarded and solicitations issued after September 8, 2009 will include a clause committing government contractors to use E-Verify. The same clause will also be required in subcontracts over $3,000 for services or construction. Ohio State received a qualifying federal contract on March 9, 2010. On April 7, 2010, Ohio State signed the Memorandum of Understanding, thereby enrolling in E-Verify. By July 5, 2010, Ohio State will need to begin using the E-Verify system to confirm that all new hires and current employees are authorized to legally work in the United States.
- All new employees, following completion of the Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (Form I-9) hired on or after July 5, 2010; and
- All current and active employees hired on or after November 7, 1986.
The only employees who will be exempt from this process are those who were hired before November 7, 1986 with continuous employment at Ohio State.
As a federal contractor participating in E-Verify, Ohio State has elected to verify its entire workforce, hired on or after November 7, 1986, in order to minimize administrative difficulties in tracking which employees are working on federal contracts, and will begin verifying all new hires hired on or after July 5, 2010.
E-Verify participants are required to post an English and Spanish notice provided by DHS, as well as the Right to Work Poster issued by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices, in plain view at the hiring site(s). Ohio State’s participation will also be outlined in new hire offer forms and posted to the HR website.
You can review the USCIS website.
All E-Verify queries will be submit out of the Office of Human Resources (OHR). E-Verify queries are run using information found on the Form I-9. Therefore, HR Professionals will be responsible for submitting the information found on the Form I-9 into the I-9 Database (I9Db). This pertinent information will be used for E-Verify queries.
We must have a Form I-9 for all employees hired on or after November 7, 1986.
I have an employee who was hired before November 7, 1986 and therefore no I-9 was filled out for them. This employee retired and came back after November 7, 1986.Do I need to fill out a Form I-9 for them?
Yes. A Form I-9 is required for all employees hired after November 7, 1986, including employees who were hired before that date, left and came back.
On the other hand, anyone who was hired before November 7, 1986 and has been with the university ever since, with no break in service, does not need a Form I-9 and is exempt from E-Verify.
My employee left the University for a short time and came back. I still have their original I-9. Do they need to fill out a new Form I-9?
You can use the original I-9 for up to three years from the date it was originally filled out. You will need to fill out Section 3 on the original I-9 upon the employee’s return. Additionally, make sure to check their documents again if the documents used for the original Form I-9 are now expired. Alternatively, a new Form I-9 can be filled out for the returning employee.
Yes. A Form I-9 is required for all employees, including students.
The Form I-9 retention schedule dictates that we must retain the Form I-9 for either three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of termination, whichever is later. For example, if an employee was hired on January 1, 2008 and was terminated on March 1, 2009, we would have to retain the Form I-9 until January 1, 2011 even though the employee had been terminated more than one year ago. Also, if an employee was hired on June 1, 2002 and they are still employed with the university, we must retain their Form I-9, even though the employee was hired more than three years ago.
Is a new Form I-9 required for an individual who changes their name as a result of marriage or divorce?
Any time an individual changes their name, the original Form I-9 can be updated using Section 3 to reflect the name change. This includes name changes that come as a result of a change in marital status. Alternatively, a new Form I-9 can be filled out for when an individual changes their name. The new I-9 should be kept with the original.
The Form I-9 indicates that “State employment agencies may omit the date the employee began employment”. Does this mean we do not need to write the date of hire?
No. The Ohio State University is NOT a state employment agency and therefore, this rule does not apply to the university. Rather, an example of a state employment agency would be the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.
Therefore, we are required to write the date of hire in the “Certification” section of the Form I-9.
Any Forms I-9 missing the original start date will require a correction and a memo attached explaining why this date is being added later.
I have an employee who lives and works outside of the United States. Do I need to complete an I-9 for this employee?
No. The Form I-9 is not required for any employees working outside of the United States. Employees working outside the United States are also exempt from E-Verify.
Form I-9 and E-Verify
Yes. While the Social Security Number is typically voluntary on the Form I-9, it is mandatory for E-Verify participants. Therefore, it is mandatory for employees of The Ohio State University to provide the Social Security Number on the Form I-9.
As a participant in E-Verify, are there any additional requirements for prospective employees to complete the Form I-9?
As an E-Verify employer, Ohio State has additional requirements for the Form I-9 that other employers do not have:
- Ohio State may only accept a List B document that contains a photo (if the employee cannot provide such a document because of religious objections, contact your E-Verify Coordinator, Ahmad Hassan at 614.292.0344 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact E-Verify Customer Support at 888.464.4218).
- Ohio State must photocopy any Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) or Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) if an employee presents one of these documents and keep it with that employee’s Form I-9.
- Ohio State employees must write their Social Security numbers on Section 1 of Form I-9. For a comprehensive outlook of E-Verify’s Form I-9 stipulations, click here.
If an employee presented expired documents when his/her Form I-9 was presented, do I need to him/her fill out a new Form I-9?
Yes. E-Verify does not accept documents that were expired at the time that they were presented. If an employee presented an expired document when the Form I-9 was originally presented, a new I-9 will be needed, even if the I-9 regulations allowed for expired documentation at the time.
My employee presented documents that were current and valid at the time they were presented but they have now expired. Do I need to have him/her fill out a new Form I-9?
No. Documents whose expiration does not change an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States do not need re-verification. Therefore, if an employee’s documents were current and valid at the time they were presented, you will not need to re-verify the documents, even if they are now expired.
Yes. If an employee’s work authorization expires, re-verification will be necessary. Documents whose expiration changes an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States will require re-verification. For example, the expiration of an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) changes an employee’s eligibility to work in the United States. Therefore, the employee will have to present new employment authorization. Section 3 of the Form I-9 must be updated with this information.
As an E-Verify employer, The Ohio State University is required to photocopy the Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) and the Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) if they are presented on the Form I-9.
These are the only documents that we are required to photocopy.
I-9 Database (I9Db)
The I-9 Database (I9Db) is a web-based application that has been designed to capture the information found on the Form I-9 to complete employment eligibility and verification for employees of the university. Using the data entered from our Form I-9, the I9Db will submit the pertinent information to E-Verify.
If your SHRP has designated access for you, you can log into the I9Db using your kuberos (name.#) username and password.
Access to the I9Db is designated by your SHRP. If you feel there is an area you need access to, notify your SHRP who will either approve or deny that access.
When you log in to the I9Db, you will see a roster of individuals who you have access to and responsibility for. Any individual on that list with a status of “Not Submitted” will require an I-9 to be entered.
No. While you may need to keep the paper copy of the I-9, per the Form I-9 retention schedule, we will not need to have this information entered into the I9Db.
Yes. We must E-Verify our entire workforce. This includes student employees.
What are the steps to submit an employee into the I-9 Database if they do not yet have a Social Security Number?
Employees who do not yet have a Social Security Number may not have their information run through E-Verify. Therefore, they do not have to be put into the I9Db until a permanent Social Security Number is issued. Employers should complete the Form I-9 process with the employee and wait to run an E-Verify query on that individual until the employee receives his/her Social Security Number. If the employer verifies the employee’s work authorization, the employee will be allowed to work temporarily without a Social Security Number.
No. While we will be exploring alternative means to store our I-9s, including Electronic I-9, we are not there yet. Therefore, please retain your paper.
However, if you have not already been doing so already, store your paper centrally, together in one file, as opposed to individual personnel files.
The I9Db will have a roster of individuals whose profiles you will have access to and responsibility for. You should check your roster regularly as it will update whenever someone comes into your area.
The earliest the employer may initiate a query is after an individual accepts an offer of employment and begins employment. The employee and employer must complete the Form I-9. The E-Verify query must be initiated no later than the end of three business days after the employee starts work for pay.
As such, the Form I-9 should be completed and entered into the I-9 Database no later than the third day of employment.
No. Because E-Verify may not prescreen potential employees, the Form I-9 can be filled out only after an offer of employment has been accepted. E-Verify may not pre-screen applicants and may not delay training or an actual start date based upon a tentative non-confirmation or a delay in the receipt of a confirmation of employment authorization. In short, an employee should not face any adverse employment consequences based upon an employer’s use of E-Verify unless a query results in a Final Nonconfirmation.
Employers must verify employees in a non-discriminatory manner, and may not schedule the timing of queries based upon the new hire’s national origin, citizenship status, race, or other prohibited characteristic.
My employee was already verified through E-Verify with a previous employer. Does the E-Verify query need to be initiated again?
Yes. An employee’s previous employment authorization through E-Verify from another employer does not satisfy the current employer’s obligation to use E-Verify once an employee has been hired. But, once an employee has been run through E-Verify they should not be re-verified through E-Verify by the same employer, unless he/she is rehired.
If the query involves a noncitizen worker, the employee’s name, date of birth, and SSN are matched with SSA records as with U.S. citizen cases. If the information matches SSA records, then the DHS identification number and work authorization information are also matched against DHS databases. If the information cannot be verified electronically, the case is forwarded to a USCIS Immigration Status Verifier (ISV), who researches the case and provides an electronic response within one business day, either verifying work authorization or issuing a DHS Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC). If the employer receives a TNC, the employer must notify the employee and provide him or her with an opportunity to contest that finding. An employee has eight business days to call a toll-free number (which provides support in ten different languages) to initiate the process to contest the finding.
Until the TNC is resolved, the employee must be allowed to keep working and cannot be fired or have any other employment-related action taken against them because of the TNC. Once the necessary information from the employee has been received by phone or fax, the USCIS Immigration Status Verifier resolves the case, typically within three business days, by issuing either a verification of the employee’s work authorization status or a DHS Final Nonconfirmation.
E-Verify Responses and Tentative Non-Confirmations
- Confirmation: For those employees whose work authorization status can be verified immediately (i.e. whose SSA record matched and confirms U.S. citizenship), the process ends here with a confirmation response returned to the employer through the system within seconds.
- Tentative Nonconfirmation: In the remaining small minority of cases, the system issues a Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC). A TNC does not necessarily mean that the employee is not authorized to work in the United States. Common issues resulting in a TNC include typographical errors, Social Security cards reflecting maiden vs. married names, providing an incorrect immigration status (permanent residences vs. alien authorized to work).
- DHS Verification In Process: A noncitizen’s information provided to SSA matches the information contained in SSA records, but did not match DHS’ records. The case is then automatically referred to DHS for further verification. The employer and employee do not need to take any action at this point. DHS will respond to most of these cases within 24 hours, although some responses may take up to 3 federal government workdays.
Tentative Nonconfirmations will be communicated by the Office of Human Resources. HR Professionals may be called upon to assist in reaching an employee. OHR will instruct the employee on the steps necessary to contest and resolve an E-Verify Tentative Nonconfirmation.
When a TNC is issued, the employer must notify the employee of the TNC and give the employee the opportunity to contest the finding. If the employee chooses to contest the SSA TNC, he or she must indicate this choice electronically and sign and date the Notice to Employee of Tentative Nonconfirmation. The employer then gives the employee a Referral Letter with specific instructions for how to contact SSA in order to remedy their records. The document is available in English and Spanish. The employee must sign the Referral Letter as well. The employee then has eight business days to visit an SSA office with the required documents to initiate the process to prove identity and support the correction of the SSA record. SSA will then take the following steps:
- determine if the Social Security record needs to be updated
- update the Social Security records based on acceptable evidence provided
- verify the authenticity of evidence submitted with the issuing entity
Until the TNC is resolved, even if it takes longer than eight days, the employee must be allowed to keep working and cannot be terminated or have any other employment-related action taken against him or her because of the TNC. E-Verify will inform the employer of the case resolution once the employee visits SSA and resolves the issue. If the employee fails to contact SSA within the eight day contest period, the employee is considered a no show and a Final Nonconfirmation is issued by E-Verify. At this point, the employer should terminate employment.
E-Verify will respond with one of the following messages:
- Employment Authorized: This response indicates that employment eligibility is verified
- SSA Final Nonconfirmation: This indicates that the SSA could not verify the furnished information. Employer may terminate employment with no civil or criminal liability.
- DHS Verification In Process: This response indicates that a noncitizen’s information provided to SSA matches the information contained in SSA records. The case is then referred to DHS for employment eligibility verification. DHS responds to most of these cases within 24 hours, although DHS is permitted up to 3 federal government workdays to respond
- DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation: (Photo Tool Non-Match): The photo matching step occurs when an employee presents a Permanent Resident Card (I-551) or an Employment Authorization Document (I-766) for his or her Form I-9 documentation. This response indicates that the employer determined that the photo on the employee’s document does not match the photo supplied by E-Verify. At this point, the employer informs the employee of the DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation and give them the option to contest.
- DHS Employment Unauthorized: This response indicates that the employee contacted DHS and is not authorized to work. The employer may terminate employment with no civil or criminal liability
- Review and Update Employee Data: In some cases, SSA will prompt the employer to review and update the employee information entered into the Form I-9 and resubmit the case. This means that SSA has determined that there appears to be a discrepancy in the Form I-9 data. This discrepancy may result from any of the following situations:
- Miskeyed information on the Form I-9
- The employee intentionally provided incorrect information on the Form I-9
Yes. As long as the employee can demonstrate that he/she has contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is actively trying to resolve the non-confirmation, employers may not take any adverse action. This includes firing, suspending, withholding pay or training, or otherwise infringing upon his/her employment. If the employee informs you of his/her attempts to contact SSA, you should document what the employee has done (e.g., date and time of his/her visit to the SSA Office and name(s) of people with whom he/she has spoken). Note, however, that the latest DHS guidance is that employers should not ask the employee for any documentation, to stay clear of discrimination claims. DHS expects that the employer will keep checking back with the E-Verify system to see if the matter has been resolved.
What happens if an employee chooses not to contest a Tentative Nonconfirmation or does not contact DHS or SSA within 8 federal government workdays?
The employer may terminate employment with no civil or criminal liability.