USCIS Releasing E-Verify Self Check Service on March 21st

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

USCIS is releasing the E-Verify Self Check Service on March 21st in selected locations.  A preview can be seen here.

Initially, the service will only be offered to individuals that maintain an address and are physically located in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Virginia, or the District of Columbia. (According to the USCIS, the system will restrict access to only those users with an IP (Internet Protocol) address originating in one of those locations. )  In a recent phone call with USCIS, the agency stated that these particular locations were chosen based on a variety of factors including E-Verify case volume  in addition to more practical concerns such as whether the local Social Security Agency (SSA) offices are equipped to handle the additional workload of addressing social security mismatches.   Timeframes are still being developed and will largely depend upon the initial user experience and feedback.

The E-Verify Self Check process starts with an identity authentication step which is designed to prevent others from viewing an individual’s sensitive information.  They are requiring the minimum amount of personal data (name, DOB, address, and optional SSN) for this process followed by identity questions based on financial records.  Moreover, all data is purportedly wiped clean in the event the user cancels the self-check mid-stream.  If the individual is able to respond appropriately, the E-Verify Self Check system will then ping the E-Verify database and will present one of three results: (1) Work Authorization Confirmed; (2) Possible mismatch with SSA Information or (3) Possible mismatch with Immigration Information.  The problem, however, is that many foreign-born individuals will not have any financial footprint in the U.S. at all to answer the identity question. 

Do keep in mind, it is improper and sanctionable for an employer to require self-check as a pre-condition of employment.  Moreover, the results page and the system itself does not confer work authorization and cannot be used for employment verification; it is simply a means for a foreignnational to check their own information in the E-Verify database to enable him or her to correct the database before seeking employment.  For example, if the result shows ” Work Authorization Confirmed,” the user is informed that “if you are hired today by an E-Verify participating employer and you use the same documents and information provided, you will most likely be instantly work authorized when your employers checks your information using E-Verify.”  Thus, best case scenario, self check can provide peace of mind, but no guarantees.  On the other hand, the user might see the result “Possible Mismatch with SSA” or “Possible Mismatch with Immigration Information.”  The first means that if the person clicks “I will visit SSA,” a modified Social Security Administration (SSA) referral letter is generated which provides the reason for the referral and other information. The individual can then take this letter to an SSA office to hopefully resolve the issue.  In the second instance where the result states, ”Possible Mismatch with Immigration Information,” if the user clicks “Please Review,” a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) note is generated which provides basic information about the query and the individual is instructed to wait 5 days while DHS researches the issue and to call DHS thereafter.

The E-Verify Self Check System is a work in progress.  Stay tuned and contact Immigration Solutions Group, PLLC at (202) 234-0899 for questions or additonal information.

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