The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on May 19 an extension to the E-Verify record destruction date. Released on the E-Verify website, the alert delays the previously announced destruction date for records more than 10 years old. Accordingly, on June 4th, 2021, E-Verify employment records dated on or before December 31st, 2010, will no longer be available. Before the May announcement, the original destruction date was May 14th, 2021. Earlier, the DHS announced an extension due to COVID-19 involving employer Form I-9 compliance.

About E-Verify

Overall, E-Verify is a web-based system that confirms the eligibility of possible or current employees to work in the U.S. Specifically, employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching the information provided by employees. For instance, E-Verify matches the data entered on Form I-9 against Social Security Administration (SSA) and DHS records. Meanwhile, the system saves an employer’s E-Verify employment records for potential access later.

For the most part, the program is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Additionally, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands use E-Verify. A large number of records on the system simultaneously makes frequent purging of the data necessary. In any case, according to the DHS, E-Verify is currently the best means available to confirm employment eligibility electronically.

E-Verify Records Retention and Disposal

Accordingly, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Division (USCIS) of the DHS disposes of E-Verify employment records. Specifically, documents that are 10 years old or older are subject to destruction. In addition to saving space, the USCIS believes record destruction reduces security and privacy risks associated with retaining personal information.

As shown above, on June 4, E-Verify records dated on or before December 31st, 2010, will no longer be available. Before the E-Verify record destruction date, employers can retain information by accessing the Historic Records Report in their account.

Presently, every Historic Records Report includes:

  • Company name and location;
  • Initiated date and verification case number;
  • Employee name and date of initial resolution;
  • Date of additional resolution and final status; and
  • Case closure date and case closure description.

Employer Takeaways

On the whole, E-Verify is a voluntary program. However, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts containing the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause must use it. States may also require employers to participate in E-Verify if there is legislation mandating the system’s use. No matter the reason why an employer participates, you must remember that USCIS disposes of records annually. In summary, before losing information, the DHS recommends accessing your Historic Records Report prior to the E-Verify record destruction date. Lack of proper Form I-9 and employment verification materials could result in fines and penalties.