Save Your E-Verify Records

Article by Ashley Cameron

Before the end of the year, employers are encouraged to download and save their E-Verify records from on or before December 31, 2009.

The E-Verify System

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Verification Division administers an electronic employment verification program called E-Verify.

E-Verify is a system that allows employers to electronically confirm that an employee is authorized to work in the United States by comparing information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) records.

Though the E-Verify database stores these records for a period of time, per the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), USCIS is set to purge E-Verify records from on or before December 31, 2009. E-Verify records contain information such as:

  • Company name and location;
  • Initiated date and verification case number;
  • Employee name and date of initial resolution;
  • Date of additional resolution and final status; and
  • Case closure date and case closure description.

Since 2014, NARA enacted a yearly disposal schedule of the records that are ten years old in an effort to avoid risks associated with the electronic preservation of personal and identifiable information.

Risks to Employers

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) requires employers to verify the employment eligibility of their employees with Form I-9. Reviewing Employers are responsible for ensuring the employee completes the form, collecting appropriate documentation (e.g., driver’s license, birth certificate, passport) from the employee and affirming the nature of the documentation on the Form I-9 to establish and identify employment eligibility.

To confirm the employment eligibility of new hires, employers who use E-Verify create a case in E-Verify no later than the third business day after the employee starts work for pay. Once employers initiate a query on E-Verify, the employers soon receive a notice as to whether the particular employee is authorized to work in the United States.

However, the destruction of E-Verify records means the destruction of any notice the employer received that an employee was authorized to work in the United States, which could pose problems for employers who become subject to I-9 audits, which are typically done randomly or as a result of a complaint, or other investigations. Should an employer be subject to an I-9 audit, the employer could have to establish it did in fact receive a notice verifying work eligibility for an employee that is now identified as unauthorized to work in the United States. With saved records of any and all information received from E-Verify, an employer would be able to establish it received a work eligibility notice and rely on these records as a defense, which could aid in avoiding liability.

USCIS created a Historic Records Report that employers can download and save for their archives. The Link for this report can be found at Keeping accurate and complete records ensures the employer covers all its bases and is prepared for any audit or investigation.

Employers are also required to record the E-Verify case verification number on the corresponding Form I-9, or attach a copy of the case details page to the Form I-9. Employers should retain the Historic Records Report with the Forms I-9.

USCIS provides instructions on how to properly save E-verify records. For more information, visit USCIS at: Verify_Native_Documents/Fact-Sheet-E-Verify-RecordRetention.pdf