E-Verify at Columbia University
Beginning in January 2010, Columbia University will begin using a federal system called E-Verify to validate the identity and U.S. work eligibility of faculty, staff (including temporary and casual employees), student officers and new hires working on federal contracts that include the E-Verify requirement.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is Mandated by the Federal Government
Implementation Timetable and Compliance Deadline
All Faculty and Staff Working on Eligible Federal Contracts or Sub-Contracts will be Affected
How the E-Verify Process Works
How to Complete the E-Verify Requirement
Links to More Information
E-Verify is an Internet-based system that enables employers to electronically verify United States work eligibility of employees. The system compares employee information taken from the Form I-9 against the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security databases. Federal regulations took effect in September 2009 requiring all organizations that hold federal contracts in excess of $100,000 and federal subcontracts over $3,000 which contain Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.222-54 to verify the employment eligibility of those employees working under the federal contract.
Executive Order 13465, effective September 8, 2009, requires the use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system for federal contractors that hold contracts with the federal government containing the FAR E-Verify clause. As a federal contractor, the University is required to use E-verify to supplement the Form I-9 process only for those faculty and staff members who are working on an E-Verify designated federal contract. Compliance with the E-Verify requirement thus requires the cooperation of all schools and departments receiving federal contract funding. Failure to comply can jeopardize the federal contract funds received University-wide.
The University is implementing E-Verify according to the timetable established in the Executive Order:
- September 8, 2009: the executive order went into effect, allowing the federal government to begin adding the E-Verify language to new and existing federal contracts
- November 25, 2009: the University received its first federal contract containing the E-Verify clause
- December 23, 2009: the University enrolled in the E-Verify system
- March 24, 2010: all employees working on the first E-Verify contract will have completed the E-Verify process
Within 90 days of the University receiving a new E-verify contract, all employees working on that contract must be E-Verified.
Within 30 days of joining an existing E-verify contract, new employees on the contract must be E-Verified.
All existing personnel, including officers of instruction, officers of research, officers of the libraries, officers of administration, support staff (including casual and temporary workers) and student officers who perform substantial duties on a covered federal contract are required to complete a new Form I-9 and to be E-Verified. This includes all current employees hired after November 6, 1986, who are performing work in the United States under a contract or sub-contract that includes the E-Verify clause.
There are a few limited exceptions to the E-Verify rule:
- Any employee who was hired by Columbia University prior to November 6, 1986 and has been continuously employed at the University.
- Any employee who has been granted and holds an active federal agency HSPD-12 compliant credential or a U.S. Government security clearance for access to confidential, secret, or top secret information in accordance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual.
- Any employee who may be working under a covered contract, but who normally performs support work, such as indirect or overhead functions, and does not perform any substantial duties applicable to the contract.
Sponsored Projects Administration reviews all contracts that come into the University for the new E-Verify requirement. Columbia University Human Resources (CUHR) works closely with Sponsored Projects Administration and Sponsored Projects Finance in order to determine who is working on these E-Verify contracts and subcontracts. CUHR closely monitors the receipt of E-Verify contracts and will notify the Departmental Administrator and the Principal Investigator when an individual or group of individuals is required to complete E-Verify.
The process begins with the completion of an electronic Form I-9. The University’s I-9 system interfaces with the federal E-Verify system to compare the information on the I-9 to that in the electronic records maintained by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. The E-Verify process instantly validates an individual’s identity and work eligibility, and returns the result to the I-9 processor within seconds. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) statistics show that approximately 97% of all employees run through E-Verify are found to be work eligible.
- You will receive notification from your Departmental Administrator and possibly your Principal Investigator
- Once you are notified, you have 15 calendar days to complete a new electronic Form I-9 and be E-Verified
- The Form I-9 has two required sections. In order to complete section 1 of the Form I-9, please refer to the I-9 instructions web page.
- Once you have completed Section 1, please bring the required documents (the list of acceptable documents is provided to you at the end of section 1) with you to one of the campus I-9 Centers in order to complete Section 2 of the I-9 in person.
- After you have completed section 2 of the Form I-9, the E-Verify query will be run automatically. You will receive the result of the query immediately, while you are in the I-9 Center.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) E-Verify
- USCIS Federal Contractor Overview and Frequently Asked Questions
- Department of Homeland Security E-Verify