E-Verify is a free web service that allows employers to ascertain the legal eligibility of an individual who wants to work in the United States.
E-Verify helps employers ensure that they are hiring eligible workers to avoid possible legal issues. The service is a part of the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration) Department. After employers enter the records from prospective employees, the data is compared with records available to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA). The employee is either confirmed eligible or the system provides the necessary steps to address problems in eligibility.
E-Verify was created after the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). As of 2016, over 600,000 employers use E-Verify according to the DHS website. While the program is voluntary in most U.S. states, it is mandatory in several states. The breakdown goes as follows:
Required by all employers -- Arizona and Mississippi
Encouraged by all employers -- South Carolina
Required for public contractors -- Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah
Required for state agencies -- Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Utah