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If you are providing contractors under a federal contract or operate in certain states and you are running your own back-office, you may be required to run those contractors through E-Verify, an online system which checks information contractors provide on their I-9s to data stored by the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to ensure they are authorized to work in the United States.

As a Federal Contractor, FoxHire recently began running its contractors through the E-Verify system. While most of our contractors come back as “authorized to work,” we have run into some situations that have taught us a lot about the system and the I-9 process. Here are a few tips we can offer from our experience:

  • If you are unable to E-Verify a contractor within three days of their start date as required, simply attach some documentation of the reason why you were unable to enter the contractor on time to the contractor’s I-9 when you file it.
  • If you get a Tentative Nonconfirmation, the first thing you should always do is carefully check over what you entered. It is very easy to transpose numbers or put the last name where the first name should be. If it appears that you have entered everything correctly, you may want to go back to the employee and double check information such as the spelling of their name, Social Security Number, and birthdate.
  • You don’t necessarily have to immediately terminate someone once you have received a SSA or DHS Final Nonconfirmation if you know that they are actively trying to get the issue resolved. When we encountered this situation, an E-Verify specialist advised us to mark the initial case in E-Verify as an “Invalid Query” and then initiate a new case, which then gave the contractor another eight days to work with the correct agency to prove that she was authorized to work.

Obviously, the specific situations you run into on E-Verify won’t necessarily match our experiences, so please be sure to consult with an employment attorney or contact E-Verify’s customer service line at (888) 464-4218 when you encounter sticky situations. We found the customer service line to actually be pretty helpful. Even though the first person we spoke with couldn’t help us, we were quickly routed to someone who could. Also, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provides an E-Verify Quick Reference Guide for Employers to help you with your basic E-Verify questions.

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