USCIS Publishes First Issue of E-Verify Connection Newsletter

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released a new E-Verify news publication called the “E-Verify Connection” on its public web site. The inaugural issue of the EV Connection includes several “Hot” topics and recent developments relating to E-Verify, as well as information on free webinars and live presentations from the E-Verify staff. It’s clear that USCIS is committed to increasing the public awareness of the E-Verify program through these various outreach programs and frequent publications. And of course, a modern-day outreach program would not be complete without the obligatory call to “follow us on twitter!” This new one-page E-Verify newsletter is provided here in its entirety. And as we often like to do here on the blog, let’s take a slightly deeper look at “what’s hot in E-Verify.” E-Verify has expanded photo matching

As we originally reported back in September, the USCIS added US Passports and Passport Cards to the photo matching process which previously covered only permanent resident cards and employment authorization documents. Often praised as the E-Verify cure for job-related identify theft, the photo matching process requires E-Verify-participating employers to compare the photo from the document presented during the I-9 process with the government’s digitally stored photo online (if available). If the employer indicates that the two images do not match, the E-Verify system will return a DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) and away we go. While the overall process for matching a US passport is fairly straightforward, there are some potential issues which we previously blogged about here. It’s also important to note that employers using E-Verify through a web services interface (most commonly associated with an electronic I-9 system) may not yet have access to passport photo matching as this version (v22) is not yet mandatory.

Puerto Rico Birth Certificate Guidance

While not directly related to E-Verify, the newsletter reminds employers that they may no longer accept Puerto Rico birth certificates that were issued prior to July 1, 2010 (the date on which the government began issuing newer, more secure birth certificates to combat fraud and identify theft) as evidence of employment authorization. Assuming the birth certificate is valid and the employee has also presented you with a valid List B document, you’ll simply need to indicate “List B and C Documents” when you’re completing the E-Verify case. As of this writing, E-Verify does not gather any information on list B or C documents, although that will most likely change when they roll-out the driver’s license pilot next year. To read more about the change affecting Puerto Rico birth certificates.

“Designated Agents” become “E-Verify Employer Agents” (and thus DAs become EEAs)

In an area dominated by acronyms, I always find it a bit sad when the government retires a well-known and frequently used letter combination in favor of a more accurate and yet harder to pronounce replacement. In fact, I have still a few colleagues and mentors who persist in using “INS” rather than “USCIS” and I just don’t have the heart to correct them. In any event, it’s not ours to question why these things change, but rather to embrace them!  This change actually occurred back in June of 2010, and has more to do with the evolving notion (and responsibilities) of an E-Verify agent (which includes an electronic I-9 software provider) that performs queries on behalf of another employer. This is probably best suited for a separate blog topic, as there are several important issues to discuss. In the meantime, just remember, it’s no longer DA…it’s EEA.