Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new customer service enhancement to E-Verify, the Internet-based employment eligibility verification program that compares information on an employee’s Form I-9 with data in Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) records. With this enhancement, the E-Verify system will continue to issue a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) if there is a record mismatch that needs to be resolved before the employee can be confirmed as work authorized, but will now also notify the employee electronically.
The USCIS explains that a “TNC means that the information entered in E-Verify from the Form I-9 did not match government records. A TNC case result does not necessarily mean that the employee is not authorized to work in the United States.”
Unlike earlier versions, the current Form I-9 includes a space for an employee to voluntarily include his or her email address. If the employee provides an email address, and the employer uses E-Verify, the employer must enter the email address into E-Verify, along with certain other information from the I-9. The employee will then receive an email notification from USCIS in the following situations:
1. If E-Verify returns a TNC of the employee’s work authorization, USCIS will automatically provide the employee with an email notification of the result.
2. If the employee contests a TNC, USCIS will send the employee an email notification when the employer refers the case to the SSA or DHS, depending on whether the non-confirmation arises from SSA or DHS records.
3. If the employee is referred to the SSA or DHS, but does not contact the agency within four days of referral, he or she will receive a reminder notice from USCIS.
4. If E-Verify confirms employment eligibility for a naturalized citizen of the United States, but determines that the employee’s SSA records have not been updated since naturalization, USCIS will notify the employee via email to advise him or her to visit the SSA to update the records.
Among other benefits, this enhancement enables the employee to receive timely notification of a TNC and how the employee may resolve it. Still, USCIS cautions that even with email notifications, “[e]mployers are still required to notify employees of [tentative non-confirmations] and their right to contest.”
Therefore, employers should remain mindful not only of their obligation to include email address information in E-Verify, if the employee provides such information, but following the process and procedures set forth in the E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding, including steps for addressing TNCs with employees.