What’s the Difference Between Form I-9 and E-Verify?

Are Form I-9 and E-Verify the same? No. Although E-Verify uses information from Form I-9, there are some important differences you need to be aware of.

What’s the Difference Between Form I-9 and E-Verify?

You often hear about Form I-9 and E-Verify discussed together and you may wonder - What’s the difference between the two? If I complete one, do I have to complete the other? Is E-Verify the electronic version of Form I-9?

The answer is NO, they are not the same, and here’s why:

Form I-9

"Required to verify the identity and employment authorization of all individuals hired for employment in the United States. All U.S. employers must properly complete Form I-9 for each individual they hire, including citizens and noncitizens. Both employees and employers (or authorized representatives of the employer) must complete the form."*


"A web-based system that allows enrolled employers to further confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify employers verify the identity and employment eligibility of newly hired employees by electronically matching information provided by employees on the Form I-9 against records available to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The program is voluntary.. However, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause are required to enroll in E-Verify as a condition of federal contracting. Employers may also be required to participate in E-Verify if their states have legislation mandating the use of E-Verify, such as a condition of business licensing. Finally, in some instances employers may be required to participate in E-Verify as a result of a legal ruling."**

Although E-Verify uses information from Form I-9, there are some important differences between Form I-9 and E-Verify requirements: 


Table Source: E-Verify and Form I-9


While E-Verify is optional for some companies, it is a best practice to use the system to give an extra assurance that you are being fully compliant and only hiring those individuals who are authorized to work. In addition, if you are a multi-location and/or multi-state employer, it is often a best practice to use the same process for all. Not only is it more efficient, but if you pick and choose certain areas or certain employees use the program it could be considered discrimination and open you up for compliance issues. Without a consistent process from location to location, it can be confusing for managers to know which locations use E-Verify and which ones do not.  Inconsistent processes lead to additional training and can increase risk.

Still have questions? Check out The Workforce Wise™ Podcast

We were honored to speak directly to the Associate Director of E-Verify, Tammy Meckley, in our recent podcast, E-Verify and I-9 news: Straight from the Top, Part 1. She spoke with us about the benefits of the program and where the program is headed in the future. The I-9 Management service from Equifax Workforce Solutions has been developed to integrate more seamlessly with E-Verify so our clients can more easily take advantage of the benefits of the program. If you’d like to learn more, contact us for a consultation about your unique situation.  

The information provided herein is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey specific legal advice. Please consult with your own legal or human resources professional(s) for guidance specific to your organization.