MIT's E-Verify Process

All new MIT employees, including faculty, staff and student workers, are required to be E-Verified.

E-Verify is also a compliance requirement for all employees or student workers assigned to perform work on a federal contract which includes a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clause.

Contact MIT about E-Verify

Find details on the E-Verify process below. If you still need help after reading the information provided on this page, contact the Atlas Service Center. Do not contact Human Resources.

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How E-Verify Works for Individuals on the FAR clause

E-Verify requires that information from an employee's or student worker's I-9 form be compared on-line with data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility. The E-Verify process must be completed within 30 business days of the date an employee or student worker is assigned to the contract.

The Atlas Service Center will monitor employees and student workers assigned to both newly established contracts and existing contracts which include FAR 52.222-54 and 22.1803 clauses. We will work to complete the E-Verify process based on available information. If there is an I-9 form on file in the HR/Payroll document imaging system with current, unexpired work authorizations (e.g., passport, EAD card or I94 forms) we will use these documents to E-Verify the person.

How E-Verify Works for New Hires

E-Verify is a federal database that compares information from an employee's or student worker's I-9 form with data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration and confirms identity and eligibility to work in the United States. The MIT Atlas Center staff submits the employee’s I-9 information to E-Verify immediately after the I-9 is completed. As with the I-9, the E-Verify case must be submitted within 3 business days of the date an employee or student worker begins employment.

Unlike the I-9, E-Verify requires a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) for submission. If a new employee does not have an SSN at the time of hire they still must complete the I-9 form within 3 business days, but the E-Verify submission may be delayed without penalty until the employee receives an SSN.

E-Verify also requires that the identity document submitted must have a photo.

When You May be Contacted

The Atlas Service Center will only contact you and the employee or student worker for the following:

  • Missing Social Security numbers (required in the E-Verify system)
  • Expired documents
  • Different work authorization documents from what is requested by the system

If additional information is necessary, employees and student workers should provide it to the Atlas Service Center.

In rare circumstances, E-Verify may result in the receipt of a Tentative Non-Compliance (TNC) report. We will provide information on what that means and what to do in that instance in the future.


1. What are the required timelines associated with E-Verify?

  • Effective November 17, 2017, all newly hired paid employees/student workers must complete the I-9 and E-Verify process within 3 days of hire.
  • Employees /student workers hired prior to November 17, 2017 who are assigned to a contract with a E-Verify FAR clause must be E-Verified within 30 days of the beginning work date of their contract (no change from today)
  • Employees /student workers hired prior to November 17, 2017 who have a valid I-9 on file and are not assigned to a FAR clause contract do not need to take any action.

2. What is the role of the Administrative Officer in regard to the I-9 process?

Their role is to partner with the employee/student worker to ensure timely completion of Section 1 on the I-9 form and ensure that the individual reports to the Atlas Service Center with the appropriate documentation within the required timeframe.

3. How can I-9 Administrators check I-9 status for employees? Student workers?


  • I-9 Administrators for employees receive automated notifications when I-9s are completed and re-verified
  • I-9 Administrators for student workers can run a Cognos Roster report

Future: HR will provide access to the vendor system (Fragomen) for administrators to view where individuals are in the I-9 process, including E-Verify.

4. Should the full legal name on the passport be used in order to increase the matching rate in E-Verify?

Yes. We strongly recommend that new employees/student workers enter their full legal name in Section 1 of their I-9 as noted on their documentation in order to avoid a status of Tentative Non-Confirmation being returned from E-Verify.

Please note, however, that E-Verify does not accept special characters, such as umlauts or accents. The only characters allowed in E-Verify are spaces, single quotes and hyphens. Employees/student workers should avoid entering special characters on their I-9.

5. If an employee/student worker arrives in US but then immediately leaves on a trip, how can they complete the I-9? What if they are working in a location other than Cambridge (i.e. Chicago, Worcester, etc.)?

Once they arrive in U.S. they are obligated to complete the I-9 according to the normal schedule. If out of state, they must meet with a remote representative agent in their location to verify their I-9. If they do not complete the I-9, they will be unable to work until this is resolved.

6. When faculty are appointed effective July 1 but do not start work until September 1, when does their I-9 need to be completed?

September 1 is considered their first day of work and they must complete section 1 of the I-9 on or before September 1. They must bring documentation to Atlas Center and have Section 2 completed within three business days of that date.

7. Can I appoint employees prior to their hire date and have them complete the I-9 Sections 1 and 2 and E-verify before they start working?

Yes. The earlier you enter the appointment of your new employee, the better. An appointment entered using the Atlas new hire transaction prior to the employee’s hire date ensures that the employee has completed onboarding tasks and is ready to start working on their first day. This practice also benefits both the employee and the Institute by encouraging timely compliance in several other areas (i.e. Title IX training, veteran status, etc.).

8. What happens with a retroactive student start date?


A UROP is approved October 10 with a start date of September 5. The administrator is notified to set-up the student in the student hourly payroll, where they can see that the student does not have an I-9 on file. The student is notified, and when the I-9 is complete, the appointment is entered in the payroll system.

Is the start date is still September 5? Yes, the start date is based on the date student begins working for pay. According to the USCIS, "'hire' means the beginning of employment in exchange for wages or other remuneration.” However, as soon as it is known that the student is working without an I-9, the student should stop working until the I-9 is complete.

9. F-1 OPT EAD card is lost. Receipt is good for 90 days. What happens if the 90 days is reached?

If a student/employee lost the EAD card BEFORE completing the I-9 and E-Verify, then the individual would not be eligible to work until the new EAD card is received and can be presented as evidence of employment authorization (unless they qualify for employment otherwise). The Receipt Notice, or even the Approval Notice, for an OPT application may not serve as evidence of employment authorization for an initial OPT application – only the EAD card serves as such evidence.

For individuals applying for a STEM OPT Extension to an initial OPT authorization, the combination current expiring EAD along with endorsed I-20 form that notes STEM application/recommendation serves as continued employment authorization for up to 180 days while the F-1 STEM OPT Extension application is pending. After the 180 days, if the EAD card for the STEM OPT Extension has not yet been received, then the individual would need to be put on unpaid leave until the STEM OPT EAD card is receive and presented to update the I-9 form and E-Verify. 

10. What about the case when students sign up for ad hoc employment?


The MIT Alumni Association hires students as “TechCallers” to assist in fundraising for MIT. We have had a few times where students have worked without submitting their I-9s. Once they have submitted their I-9s, we do compensate them appropriately for the hours they have already worked. Should these students have been working without submitting their I-9s first? Also, when the new E-verify system is in place, do all students need a SSN before working?

Employees and student workers cannot work until they complete an I-9. An I-9 is valid even without an SSN if the worker does not have one. Lack of SSN is the only instance where we may hold-off submitting their I-9 to E-Verify. They may work if they have a valid I-9 but have not been E-Verified.

11. How long should students wait to apply for a SS card? As they present at the Atlas Service Center to complete an I-9, should they bring proof of applying for a SS card? Should they return to the ASC when they receive their SS card?

When a new international student arrives to the US, the following has to occur BEFORE they can apply for an SSN:

  1. Been in the US for at least 12 calendar days since last entry to the US
  2. Completed all check-in processes with the ISO and attend required new student orientation session
  3. Register for a full-time courseload on Reg Day
  4. Receive from the ISO a SSN eligibility letter confirming student has eligible employment on-campus
  5. Within a few days of completing full-time courseload enrollment, the ISO submits to SEVIS a Registration action, which will be on record with DHS within one business day

If a student tries to apply for an SSN before all of the above actions are completed, the SSA Office will not be able to confirm that the student is in valid status and will forward the application to a DHS contact office to confirm status. The SSA cannot issue an SSN until the DHS contact office confirms status, which can take 30 days or longer. For this reason, we advise all students NOT to go and apply for an SSN until all above actions are completed.

The ISO hosts the Social Security Administration in mid- to late-September so that students can submit their SSN applications in-person on-campus. If a student meets all criteria above and wants to apply in-person at the SSA Office in Cambridge, they can choose to do so.

When a student submits an SSN application, and their status is confirmed by SSA, they will receive a receipt letter from SSA confirming the application has been filed with SSA. The receipt could be presented to the Atlas Center as proof of the SSN application being accepted by SSA.

If an application does not need to wait for DHS confirmation, the SSN card is usually received by mail to the student’s address provided on their application within 7-10 business days.

As a reminder, completing the I-9 does not require the SSN, however the E-Verify process does require the SSN.

If a student submits an I-9 without the SSN, the student should return to the Atlas Center once the SSN is received so as to update the I-9 and to complete the E-Verify process.

12. When does the Social Security Office send representatives on campus? How can I-9 Administrators find out?

The ISO usually hosts the SSA Office on-campus for two dates in the Fall, in mid- to late-September. The dates can vary based on other campus visits made by the SSA, but will always occur after Reg Day. 

International Students are notified of the SSA accepting applications on-campus during orientation, via direct email reminder from the ISO (our student-only ISO-Broadcast email), posted on the main page of the ISO website, and via the ISO e-newsletter (which any MIT student/faculty/staff person can view on the ISO website or signup to receive by email).

13. If I only work on a federal contract for a short period of time, do I have to E-Verify?

Yes. In order to meet the federal requirements associated with E-Verify, the Institute must E-Verify any individual paid from a contract with the E-Verify requirement, even if that work is for a short period of time.

14. Do employees/student workers need to E-Verify when they change their status? Their name?

Changing from non-paid to paid status requires a new I-9 and E-Verify. Other status changes generally do not require E-Verify. For example, the name change of an existing employee would not require an E-Verify update.

15. Does E-verify apply to individuals who need to be re-verified?

Generally no. However, reverification will be needed when there is a status change (e.g. non-paid to paid).

16. When will the existing MIT employee population be E-Verified?

MIT employees hired before November 17, 2017 will not be E-Verified, unless they are assigned to projects funded by federal contracts with the E-Verify FAR clause, or have a change of status from unpaid to paid.

17. What happens when an employee’s information cannot be verified or does not match federal records?

When there is a discrepancy, the government’s E-Verify system provides notification of a “tentative non-confirmation” (TNC) of identity and/or employment eligibility. In the event that a TNC is received, the MIT compliance assistant will notify and provide guidance directly to the employee/student worker. The employee/student worker will review information submitted to E-Verify, confirm notification of the TNC and choose to "contest" or "not contest" the TNC.

What happens if an individual contests the TNC?

If an employee/student worker chooses to contest a TNC, they have eight federal government business days to contact the appropriate federal agency to initiate resolution of the information mismatch. The employee should immediately take action to begin the process to resolve the case. The MIT compliance assistant will provide the employee with the appropriate Federal agency contact information as well as a case reference number.

18. Can employees continue to work and be paid while they are correcting an error in their Social Security or other records?

Yes. If employee has completed I-9 and provided all necessary supporting documents, Federal guidelines allow for individuals to continue working while discrepancies are being investigated and corrected as long as the employee initiates resolution of the TNC within the allowable time period (8 federal government working days). If after 8 days there has been no resolution they will receive a final non-confirmation after which they cannot work.

19. What if a new hire does not have a social security number? Will they still be E-Verified?

Yes, but not right away. Even if a new hire does not have a social security number they still must complete an I-9 within 3 business days of their hire date. I-9s are valid without an SSN, but E-Verify requires it. Lack of an SSN is the only case in which submission to E-Verify may be delayed. Employees who have completed their I-9 may work while waiting for an SSN. Once an employee receives their SSN they must report this to the Atlas Center and will be informed on how to add it to their completed I-9. The Atlas staff will then submit their I-9 to E-Verify.

20. We understand that individuals are otherwise eligible to work via the I-9 while they await the SSN, and that a case cannot be created in E-Verify without an SSN. What specific action(s) should we take in the case where individuals never produce an SSN? Are we then legally out of compliance? Can employee/student worker continue to work? If yes, for how long?

A case cannot be created in E-Verify without a Social Security number. If a newly hired employee has applied for but has not yet received their Social Security number (i.e., if they are a newly arrived immigrant), MIT will make a note on the employee’s Form I-9 and set it aside. The employee will be allowed to continue to work. If MIT is unable to create a case within three business days of hire, E-Verify will prompt MIT to enter a reason for the delay. When prompted by E-Verify for the reason the case has not been submitted within three business days, MIT will select: 'Awaiting Social Security number.'

If the employee does not provide a Social Security number within 30 days, MIT Compliance Assistant will reach out to the employee to confirm that they did apply for a Social Security number. The employee will be asked to provide proof that an application for a Social Security number has been made. If the employee is able to demonstrate that an application has been made, MIT will allow the employee to continue working until such time as a Social Security number is issued. If the employee is not able to demonstrate that an application has been made, further action will be taken on a case by case basis.

Need Help?

Please contact the Atlas Service Center.