New E-Verify Interface Debuts on June 13

The USCIS has announced that its newly redesigned E-Verify web interface will go live on June 13, 2010. As previously reported, the new E-Verify look (internally called E-Verify 3.0) promises to offer “a clean and modern design, easy and intuitive navigation, and clear and simple language.” Let’s take a quick peek at some of the new features and discuss the reasoning behind all of this modernization. Home Page When you login, you will now have a dashboard (of sorts) that provides a quick link to start a new verification and also features case alerts for open cases to be closed; cases with new updates; and cases with where work authorization documents are expiring. The E-Verify team even went so far as to use color coding: the bar is blue when you don’t have any case alerts and is red when you have at least one case alert. The first two alerts are welcome additions: in the current E-Verify interface, you have to go through several clicks in order to bring up this information. The expiring work authorization alert provides dubious value, since employers cannot (and should not) reverify employment authorization through E-Verify. Reverification must be done on the I-9 form, either using paper or electronically (if you are using such a system). The menu options on the left-hand side have been rewritten to use simple language and also includes links to resource documents, the E-Verify tutorial, and the user manual. The E-Verify news section (which reports on system-wide changes and enhancements) has also been improved.   Simplified Terms E-Verify has been criticized in the past (most notably by contract research organization, Westat) for using convoluted and confusing terminology. It’s actually a testament to E-Verify’s expanding coverage that so many of us even know what an “invalid query” means. To address these concerns, E-Verify is slowly (but surely) changing the lingo throughout the application. This might be a mixed blessing for long-time E-Verify users, but in the long run, it’s a probably a good thing. Some examples: Old Term = Initiate a query New Term = Create a case Old Term = Resolve Case New Term = Close Case Verification Process The biggest change to the E-Verify query (sorry…I mean case) occurs during Step 3. The data entry page now features a three-column layout (as opposed to the current one column), with similar fields grouped together in rows. To a certain extent, they are also mimicking the Form I-9 layout. All of the date fields (e.g., date of birth, hire date, etc.) now have drop-down boxes for the month/day/year to reduce the likelihood of formatting errors. The Social Security number has also been divided into three sections to improve accuracy. Overall, I find the new interface easier to use – although it does take a little bit of time familiarize yourself with the field layouts.

Case ResultsFollowing the motto that bigger is better, the E-Verify case status is now prominently displayed at the top of the page so you don’t have to go hunting through a computer-printout type of screen (although that is also still available). E-Verify also masks the SSN on the screen for added privacy and security, but continues to retain the full SSN on TNC notices. While this is understandable (since the employee should verify the number is correct), it does not take into account situations where employers may need to email or fax a TNC to a remote employee. According to the most recent E-Verify FAQ, employers are allowed to send TNC notices via email or fax “as long as you take proper precautions to ensure the employee’s information is protected.” It seems like E-Verify should consider an optional masking of the SSN on the letters for these situations.

Closing CasesThe final step in an E-Verify case has also been redesigned (in a wizard-like format), offering plain-language statements for closing a case. There are two steps: first, E-Verify will ask you whether the employee whose case you are closing still works for the company. Your answer and the status of the case determine the “case closure statements” that are then displayed on the next screen. For example, let’s say I receive an SSN TNC and decide to close the case. First, E-Verify will ask if the employee is still working with the company. If I indicate that she is, I will then have 3 statements I can make:

  • The employee continues to work for the employer after choosing not to contest a Tentative Nonconfirmation.
  • The case is invalid because another case with the same data already exists.
  • The case is invalid because the data entered is incorrect.

The functionality is ultimately the same, but the statements should make it easier for employers to choose the right option. View a Signed MOU Lastly, E-Verify Program Administrators can now download their electronically signed MOUs by clicking on “Edit Company Profile” and then “View MOU” at the bottom of the page. Designated agents can also view client MOU signature pages that they electronically submitted; MOU signature pages that were submitted by fax are not available for download. To view the official description of the E-Verify redesign, please visit here.