graphic of what is e verify

What is E-Verify? Do I Have to Use It?

E-Verify is an online system that can be used to verify that a worker is eligible to work in the U.S. It’s completely free to use and can help you comply with immigration laws when you’re hiring new employees.

Although the program is free, it can take a lot of time to enroll. Before you can start using the system, you have read and understand materials about how to use the system, which can take hours. You will also have to run your current employees through the system, before entering new hires.

How E-Verify Works

When you first hire an employee, you’re both required to fill out Form I-9 before they can begin working for you. After they have started working for you, enter the information from the I-9 into the E-Verify website. The website compares the I-9 information to information from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.

Usually, you’ll find out in seconds if your new employee is eligible to work in the US.

Do I Have to Use E-Verify?

On a federal level, it is not mandatory for most businesses to use E-Verify. However, several states have passed their own laws about the system. Before assuming you don’t have to use it, check out your state’s laws to see if it’s mandatory.

States that Require E-Verify

More and more states are requiring employers to use E-Verify when they hire new employees. Most states only require government employers or contractors to use E-Verify, but several states require all (or most) employers to use the system.


Since April 2012, Alabama has required all business, no matter how small, to use E-Verify. If a business does not use the system, they risk having their business license suspended.


Arizona has required all employers to use E-Verify since January 1, 2008.


If your business employs 10 or more employees in Georgia, then you’re required to use the system.


In Louisiana, you either have to use E-Verify or check extra forms of identification (and keep them on file). If you choose to use the online system to check the status of new hires, then you are protected from prosecution if you accidentally hire someone who is not eligible to work in the US.


Mississippi employers must use the online system to check the status of their new hires.

North Carolina

If you have six (6) or more employees in North Carolina, than you have to use the online system.

South Carolina

South Carolina requires all employers to use E-Verify.


If your Tennessee business employs at least six (6) employees, you have to use the online system.


In Utah, you must use E-Verify if you employ 15 or more workers.

States that Restrict E-Verify

While some states require you to use the online system, other states restrict its usage.


You can choose to use E-Verify if you’re a California employer, but the state is not allowed to make it mandatory.


Illinois does not think that E-Verify is accurate or timely. They’d prefer that no companies in Illinois use it until these issues are resolved, but they prohibit any state or localities from using it at all. The state has also created privacy and antidiscrimination protections for Illinois workers if a company uses E-Verify and doesn’t follow its procedures exactly.