E-Verify to begin checking Wyoming Driver’s Licenses and State ID Cards

The E-Verify system will soon begin checking Wyoming Driver’s Licenses and State ID cards as part of its ongoing initiative to reduce fraud during the employment eligibility verification process. Once implemented, Wyoming will be the eighth state to join the Records and Information from DMVs for E-Verify (RIDE) Program, which validates the authenticity of an employee’s driver’s license, driver’s permit, or state-issued ID card (if presented during the I-9 process). Other states participating in the RIDE program include Mississippi, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

While the USCIS has not announced a definitive date when Wyoming will go live with the E-Verify RIDE program, we anticipate it should be within the next few weeks (if not sooner).

What is E-Verify RIDE?

The overall premise (and operation) of the E-Verify RIDE program is fairly straight-forward. At its core, RIDE attempts to mitigate one of the most frequently cited weaknesses of E-Verify: its inability to detect certain types of document fraud. For example, critics have pointed out that the system cannot tell if an individual uses a social security number belonging to a real individual along with a fake driver’s license (which has been modified to match the SSN holder’s name and date of birth). As long as the SSN is authorized for employment (and otherwise matches the data submitted), the employee might sail right through the E-Verify check.

The RIDE program adds an additional verification layer to the overall E-Verify process by comparing data submitted by the employer (from the DL or ID presented) with data supplied by Motor Vehicle Agencies through a backend integration. If the driver’s license information provided to the employer does not match an existing record in the state database, E-Verify will issue a tentative non-confirmation (TNC) and provide the employee with an opportunity to contest.

Common Misperceptions Concerning E-Verify RIDE  

When the E-Verify RIDE program was first introduced in June 2011, many employers naturally assumed that the system would enable them to compare the actual photograph that was on file with the DMV with the driver’s license presented by the new hire during the I-9 process (similar to the photo matching process for US passports, green cards, and EADs). As it turns out though, the RIDE program is much more limited in scope, validating only the data (driver’s license number, name, and DOB) as compared with the information entered into E-Verify. The RIDE program does not use or exchange any photos at all.

Some have also expressed concern that the DMVs will be sharing even more information with the DHS than is required to verify employment eligibility. However, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the system strips out any excess data as part of the RIDE transaction. As a result, only the data that is strictly needed by E-Verify will be sent from the AAMVA once a state joins the RIDE program.

How does E-Verify RIDE affect the verification process for employers?

According to the USCIS, driver’s licenses and ID cards account for nearly 80 percent of the documents used as proof of identity by employees whose cases are submitted to E-Verify. If your new hire presents a driver’s license, driver’s permit, or state-issued ID card from a RIDE-participating state during the I-9 process, E-Verify will automatically prompt you to enter the document number when you’re typing the information into the system.

As mentioned above, if E-Verify detects a mismatch with the information from the DMV, and you are unable to resolve it, you will eventually receive a TNC informing you of the issue. As with any TNC, you must then notify the employee (through the Further Action Notice) and provide him/her with the opportunity to contest.

Best Practices for Managing E-Verify RIDE Cases

The E-Verify RIDE program has been around for 6 years now, but HR and hiring managers should still prepare themselves for potential mismatches (especially when new states are added). Here are some general best practices for ensuring a smooth E-Verify ride in your organization:

1. Choose the right document type and issuing authority

In most states, driver’s licenses and ID cards will often look alike (same agency, similar requirements, etc.), but it’s important that you choose the correct document type during the E-Verify submission in order to avoid a TNC. Fortunately, E-Verify has created a detailed fact sheet for each participating state which provides sample images and descriptions of the different document types. Here are the currently available fact sheets (Wyoming will likely be added soon):

2. Review your TNC policies and procedures

In the past, many employers have reported a slight increase in the number of TNCs when a new state goes live with the program. In light of this possibility, employers should ensure that their I-9 verifiers follow a carefully orchestrated TNC process which not only informs the new hire of the mismatch, but also enables him/her to contest the TNC and continue working in the interim. Employers will also need to follow up with pending E-Verify TNCs and take appropriate action when a final result is received back from the system.

3. Use an integrated electronic I-9 and E-Verify system

Employers using an integrated electronic I-9 and E-Verify system can automatically transmit the driver’s license document ID and expiration date to E-Verify once it has been recorded in section 2 of the I-9 and “approved” for sending to E-Verify. This step not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood that document information might be transcribed incorrectly from the I-9 form (and every mistake can lead to a TNC). A well-designed electronic I-9 system will also apply the correct document ID validation and walk you through the entire TNC process (from employee notification to signature to follow-up).

Need more information on E-Verify RIDE or electronic I-9 system integration? Please contact us with any questions you might have!

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John Fay is an immigration attorney and technologist with a deep applied knowledge of I-9 compliance and E-Verify rules and procedures. During his career, John has advised human resource managers and executives on a wide variety of corporate immigration compliance issues, including the implementation of electronic I-9 systems. In his current role, John serves as Vice President and General Counsel at the LawLogix division of Hyland Software, Inc., where he is responsible for overseeing product design and functionality while ensuring compliance with ever-changing government rules.