By Thomas Ahearn, ESR Staff Writer

The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued a revised list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause calling for the use of the E-Verify verification system. The revised FAQ can be reached by clicking here.

The E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule requires the insertion of the FAR E-Verify clause into applicable Federal contracts, which requires Federal contractors to use E-Verify to verify the employment eligibility of their new hires and all employees (existing and new) assigned to a Federal contract and performing work under a qualifying Federal contract.

E-Verify – a free, Internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA) – allows employers to verify the employment authorization of their employees by checking information provided by employees on their Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) Form electronically against records in DHS and SSA databases.

The FAQ on the USCIS website address what Federal contracts are affected by the FAR clause, what employees are impacted by the FAR clause, information regarding the initiation of E-Verify inquiries, and how the FAR clause impacts subcontractors.

The FAQ explains what types of Federal contracts are exempt from the E-Verify Federal Contractor Rule. A contract is considered exempt if one or more of the following apply:

  • It is for fewer than 120 days;
  • It is valued at less than $100,000, the simplified acquisition threshold;
  • All work is performed outside the United States, and/or;
  • It includes only commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items and related services.

According to the USCIS website, a COTS item is a commercial off-the-shelf item that is sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace and is offered to the government in the same form that is available in the commercial marketplace.

Employers may also use an ‘E-Verify Designated Agent’ to be their E-Verify service provider and assist them in maintaining Form I-9/E-Verify compliance. The Designated Agent uses E-Verify to verify the employment authorization for their clients’ employees. 

Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a national background screening provider and authorized E-Verify Designated Agent – can help employers virtually eliminate SSA mismatch letters, improve the accuracy of wage and tax reporting, protect jobs for authorized workers, and help maintain a legal workforce. For more information about E-Verify, please visit