An F-1 student interested in participating in the STEM OPT extension must select a prospective employer that is enrolled in the USCIS E-Verify program. This means that employers who wish to sponsor STEM OPT trainees must be E-Verify participants. Employers can learn how to enroll in the program on the USCIS website. The website also has free webinars and other resources for employers.
What is E-Verify?
E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use — and provides a way for employers to ensure a legal workforce.
E-Verify confirms employment eligibility by comparing the information an employee enters in the Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification,” to DHS and Social Security Administration records.
What if E-Verify Cannot Confirm a Student’s Employment Eligibility?
After the employer creates a case in E-Verify and enters information from the student’s Form I-9, E-Verify displays a case result within seconds. Sometimes, E-Verify may display a case result that requires additional action. When this happens, it is called an E-Verify tentative noncomfirmation (TNC). A TNC means the information entered by the employer from the student’s Form I-9 does not match government records.
Nonimmigrant students have many rights during the TNC process, including the right to contest the TNC and the right not to incur adverse actions because of the TNC. For more information, visit the USCIS Employee Rights Toolkit.
Please visit the USCIS website for tips on how to avoid receiving a TNC. These tips include ensuring the name on a student’s Form I-9 matches the name on the student’s other official government documents.
How Else Can a Student Get Involved in Their E-Verify Process?
myE-Verify is a free resource that nonimmigrant students can use at any time. myE-Verify’s Self Check feature enables students to confirm that government records are accurate. myE-Verify’s Self Lock feature enables students to lock their Social Security number in the E-Verify system to help protect against employment-related identity fraud.
If a student uses these services and finds an error in their record, E-Verify provides guidance on the steps the student should take to correct the record.
For more information about the E-Verify employment eligibility verification program, download the USCIS fact sheets and web pages listed in the additional resources section below.
If you are an international student and have case-specific questions about your status in E-Verify, please call the E-Verify Employee Hotline at 1-888-897-7781.