I-9 and E-Verify

Columbia University complies with federal laws and regulations concerning verification of employment eligibility and associated record keeping for employees hired to work in the United States. Columbia University is an E-Verify employer.

How to Complete Form I-9 and E-Verify

The I-9 Form is the Federal form used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. All new hires must complete section 1 of the form no later than the first day or work for pay. Employees must go to an I-9 center with their original, unexpired documents no later than the third business day after you begin working to complete section 2 and E-Verify.

Complete Section 1 of the Form I-9 Online:

  • When you access the website, it will ask you to complete two forms – the first one is a personal information form, and the second is section 1 of the Form I-9.
     
  • Please enter all information carefully. Be sure to enter your full legal name, and double-check all information entered to ensure the data matches exactly the documents you are presenting.
     
  • Once the form is complete, electronically sign the form.
     
  • Once Section 1 is completed, the list of acceptable documents for Section 2 will be presented to you. Please bring the required documents with you within three business days of your start date in order to complete Section 2 of the I-9 in person.

Complete Section 2 of the Form I-9 and E-Verify at any of the I-9 Centers: 

  • Please go in person to any of the I-9 Service Centers on campus no later than the 3rd business day after you begin working.
     
  • You must bring original, unexpired documentation with you to the I-9 Service Center. For a list of acceptable documents, please refer to the Federal Government’s I-9 Central Website.
     
  • E-Verify will run at the same time you complete Section 2 of the Form I-9, and uses the same information as the Form I-9. No additional documentation is required.
     
  • A Social Security Number (SSN) is not required for the Form I-9, but is required for E-Verify. If you do not yet have a SSN when you complete the Form I-9, you will select “SSN applied for” on the I-9 form. Once you have a Social Security Number, present your card to you department administrator. S/he will update CU Human Resources (CUHR) with the information. E-Verify will be run once CUHR has received your Social Security Number and your department will be informed of the result.

Morningside Campus

  • 210 Kent Hall (Morningside Campus)
     
  • Studebaker (in Manhattanville)
    622 West 132nd Street – 4th Floor

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

  • Administration Building, Room 208
    61 Route 9W
    Palisades, NY 10964

Medical Center

  • CUMC Human Resources – Georgian Building, 617 W. 168th St., 2nd Floor
     
  • Medicine – PH 8 West, Room 862
     
  • Mailman School of Public Health – 600 W. 168th, 7th Floor
     
  • Pediatrics – Children's Hospital CHC, Room 104
     
  • Surgery – PH 14, Room 105
     
  • Psychiatry – 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 5
     
  • OB/GYN – PH 16021
     
  • College of Dental Medicine – Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, 7th Floor
     
  • Neurology – 710 W. 168th, 9th Floor, Room 100

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 DHS databases.

As both a Federal Contractor and as an institution that employs students who have earned degrees in certain science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the University participates in the Federal E-Verify program.

The E-Verify process is integrated with the Form I-9.

What are the possible responses received when an E-Verify query is run?

There are seven possible initial responses that could be returned when the I-9 information is submitted to E-Verify:

Definitions:

  • Employment Authorized – the employee is authorized to work in the United States. This is the most common initial response received from E-Verify. When this response is received, the employment eligibility process is complete. No further action is required.
     
  • Employment Authorized with Additional Verification Optional – the employee is authorized to work in the United States. Columbia University policy is to not request additional verification once an employment authorized response is received. No further action is required.
     
  • Initial Verification not Processed – The I-9 has been completed, but a response has not been received from E-Verify. The system will proved a response within a short period of time. The employee should remain at the I-9 center until the transaction is processed.
     
  • Employment Authorized with Additional Verification Automatic – the employee is authorized to work in the United States. However, the DHS will perform a more in-depth verification on this individual. No action is required by the employee. The system status will automatically be updated to DHS verification in process. DHS will respond generally within three government work days. Once the status has been updated by DHS, the HR Processing Center will notify the department and your departmental administrator will notify you of the result.
     
  • SSA or DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation – the information on the employee’s I-9 did not match the information on file at the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the DHS. It does not mean the employee is not authorized to work. The employee may choose to contest (correct the problem) or not contest (forfeit and terminate employment).
     
  • DHS Verification in Process – a definitive answer is not yet available. DHS responds to most of these cases within 24 hours, but has up to three government business days to respond. Once the status has been updated by DHS, the PAC Service Center will notify the department and your departmental administrator will notify you of the result.

Q: I received an SSA or DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation result. Now what do I do?

Receipt of a tentative nonconfirmation simply means that the information on your I-9 does not match the information in the Social Security Administration database or the DHS Security database. If you believe this result is an error, please take the following steps:

  1. Work with the I-9 processor to indicate that you are contesting the results from E-Verify.
  2. Read the information provided to you by the I-9 Center regarding the actions you must take to clear up the discrepancy. This information will include information on how to contact SSA or DHS.
  3. You must continue to work. If you are a new hire, you should go ahead and attend orientation, sign up for benefits, obtain your employee ID, etc.
  4. Contact the appropriate office (Social Security Administration or DHS) within eight government work days.
  5. Once you have contacted the appropriate government office, Columbia will receive a response to your employment eligibility within 10 government work days from the initial indication that you were contesting the finding.
  6. The Human Resources Processing Center will notify your department of the final E-Verify result.


Q: I received an SSA or DHS Tentative Nonconfirmation result. However, I did not contact SSA or DHS within the prescribed eight government work days — now what do I do?

Once the University receives a final nonconfirmation due to a no-show at the government agency, the University is required to terminate your employment. You should contact your departmental administrator immediately.

If you will not be present at Columbia University on or prior to your first day of employment to complete the I-9 and provide original documentation, please work with your departmental HR contact to find a remote agent who is authorized to complete Section 2 of your I-9. As a remote hire, you still must complete the I-9 within three business days of your hire date.

To view the University's I-9 Policy, visit the Administrative Policy Library.
 

Q: What is the I-9 form, and why do I need to complete one?

An I-9 Form is the Employment Eligibility Verification Form required by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to verify your identity and your eligibility to work. All employees must complete this form and provide valid original identifications. You are not eligible for pay until you have completed your I-9.

Get more information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a branch of DHS.


Q: When do I complete the I-9 form?

On or before your first day of employment, complete Section 1 of the I-9 online.

Within three business days of your first day of work, you must bring the required original documents to an I-9 processing center. The staff at the processing center will verify your employment eligibility and complete Section 2 of the form.


Q: Where can I go for help?

For assistance on how to complete the online I-9 form, please see the I-9 Instructions or contact your hiring manager.


Q: I don’t know if I have the right documentation. Where can I find out?

Once you have completed Section 1 of the I-9 form online, you will see a confirmation page that lists the acceptable documents you may bring to the I-9 office in order to complete the I-9 process. The list of acceptable documents can also be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Please note: expired documents are not acceptable by order of DHS.


Q: I don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Alien Number. What do I do?

When you complete Section 1 of your I-9 Form, you can indicate that the SSN has been applied for. Please complete Section 1 online and then visit an I-9 Service Center within three business days of your date of hire/first day of work and a representative will assist you.


Q: Where can I get answers to questions about taxation?

Columbia University does not provide tax advice; we recommend that you seek the advice of a professional tax advisor with questions about taxation.

If you are seeking information on tax forms only, you may contact the Human Resources Service Center.


Q: Where does the information I am submitting go? Who uses it?

The information you submit via the online I-9 system is used by Columbia University only to verify your U.S. employment eligibility with the Federal Government. Please know that your personal information is protected by Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.


Q: I worked for the University within the past three years and previously filled out a paper I-9 form. Do I need to complete a new I-9?

Yes.


Q: What is E-Verify?

E-verify is a web-based employment authorization verification system, operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), part of the DHS, in partnership with the Social Security Administration.


Q: Why is Columbia participating in E-Verify?

Columbia University is an E-Verify employer. As both a Federal Contractor and as an institution that employs students who have earned degrees in certain science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the University participates in the Federal E-Verify program.


Q: Who must be E-Verified?

All new hires will be E-Verified as part of the Form I-9 process.

All existing personnel – Officers of Instruction, Officers of Research, Officers of the Libraries, Officers of Administration, student Officers and support staff (including casual employees) – who perform substantial duties on a qualifying federal contract are required 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.

 

 

E-Verify for Federal Contractors

Federal regulations require all organizations that hold certain federal contracts to verify the employment eligibility of those employees working under the federal contract. If the contract you are working on is identified as a FAR contract for E-Verify purposes, you will be notified.

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.

Q: To fulfill the Federal Contractor requirements, who must be E-Verified?

To meet the requirements under the 2008 FAR E-Verify requirement for Federal Contractors, all existing personnel – Officers of Instruction, Officers of Research, Officers of the Libraries, Officers of Administration, student Officers and support staff (including casual employees) – who perform substantial duties on a qualifying federal contract are required 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.


Q: Are there any exceptions to the E-Verify rule?

Yes, there are some 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.


Q: Are employees who work on a qualifying contract for a minimal amount of time, or intermittently, subject to E-Verify?

Yes. The rule does not exempt employees based on the intermittent nature of the work or the length of time spent performing the work. Therefore, student employees, Federal Work Study students and casual employees are all subject to E-verify.


Q: I am currently working on a federal contract. When should I be E-Verified?

Columbia University Human Resources works with Sponsored Projects Administration and several other departments in order to identify new contracts that come into the University with the E-Verify language. Once a contract is identified, all personnel working on that contract will be notified by their department with instructions on when and how to complete the E-Verify process, including a new Form I-9.


Q: What will I need to do to be E-Verified if I am identified as working on a Federal Contract?

Once you receive notification that you must complete the E-Verify process, you will have 15 calendar days to complete the necessary steps:

Complete an electronic Form I-9. The Form I-9 has two required sections:

To complete Section 1 of the Form I-9, please refer to the I-9 instructions.

Section 2 of the Form I-9 must be completed at one of the campus I-9 Centers. You must appear in person, with original documents that verify both your identity and your work authorization. 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.

The E-Verify query will be run automatically by the I-9 system once you have completed Section 2 of the Form I-9. You will receive the result of the query immediately, while you are in the I-9 Center.


Q: What happens if I completed my original I-9 electronically, through I-9 eXpress?

All personnel subject to the new E-verification process will be notified by their department. You will be required to complete a new electronic I-9 as part of the E-Verify process.


Q: What happens if I completed my original I-9 on paper?   

All personnel subject to the new E-verification process will be notified by their department. You will be required to complete a new electronic Form I-9 via I-9 Express. E-Verify will be processed concurrently.

Further instructions on the timing and location for completing a new Form I-9 will be provided in the notification. The E-Verify process is integrated into the completion of Section 2 of the Form I-9.


Q: What happens if I am E-Verified for one contract, and then I begin work on a different qualifying federal contract?

Once you have been E-verified by the University and employment authorization has been confirmed, you do not need to be e-verified again while at the University.


Q: What happens if my previous employer ran my information through E-Verify?  Must I do it again?

Yes. Under the rule, all federal contractors are required to enter the worker’s identity and employment information into the E-verify system following completion of the Form I-9 at the time of hire.


Q: What happens if I do not have a Social Security Number?

An employee working on a qualifying federal contract is required to provide his or her SSN in order to complete the E-Verify query. If you do not have a Social Security Number you should work with your departmental administrator in order to obtain a Social Security Number. Once you receive a number, you can then complete the I-9 and E-Verify process.


Q: If I have additional questions, who do I speak with?

Please call the Human Resources Service Center at (212) 851-2888.

Additional Information on E-verify can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) E-Verify website.