E-Verify Records Will Soon Be Purged

This is a reminder that, as of March 31, 2017, employers will not have access to E-Verify records that were created on or before Dec. 31, 2006.  

E-Verify is an internet-based system that compares information from the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification to information in different government databases. These databases are maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Social Security Administration (SSA), and Department of State (DOS), and contain records to confirm that an employee is properly identified and is employment-authorized. Depending on the circumstances, the use of E-Verify may be a voluntary or mandatory requirement. 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) disposes of E-Verify records that are over 10 years old annually, in order to avoid the risk of the data being compromised. In order to retain case information, E-Verify employers may download and save the new Historic Records Report from E-Verify. The report contains information about each E-Verify case that will be purged. This report is only available through March 31, 2017.

E-Verify recommends that employers write the E-Verify case verification number on the corresponding Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, and retain the historic record with the corresponding I-9. It is prudent for employers to retain these records for existing employees. Those records that should be retained for separated employees should also be downloaded.

In considering what historic records to retrieve and maintain, employers may consider the "purge rule." The purge rule allows employers to destroy an employee’s I-9 and corresponding E Verify records, after the later of one year after termination or three years from the date of hire. All records that are systemically purged, by meeting the purge rule, need not be retained.  However, the determination of whether or not to purge should be considered under advice of counsel.