2.2 Verify Existing Employee using Form I-9

To comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule, you must verify all new hires and existing employees assigned to a covered contract. You may also choose to verify your entire workforce. First, you must decide how to verify your employees by completing three steps.

Step 1: Decide which employees you want to verify.

  • Only those existing employees assigned to a covered contract as explained in Sections 3, 4, 8 and 9, or
  • Your entire existing workforce.

You should consult company counsel, the director of human resources, or other appropriate personnel before making this decision. You must make your selection in E-Verify when enrolling for the first time, or if your company is already enrolled, by updating your company information using the ‘Edit Company Profile’ link on the left navigation menu. For more information on selecting which employees to verify in E‑Verify, see Section 3.

NOTE: If you choose ‘Entire Workforce’ at the time of enrollment or when updating your ‘Company Information’ page, you must verify all existing employees except those that are completely exempt from E-Verify as described in Section 3.3 of this guide. You are not permitted to change this decision once you begin verifying your existing workforce.

Step 2: Determine which existing employees are exempt or have special requirements relating to the verification process:

Verification of your employees requires that you review Form I-9 for each employee for whom you will create a case in E-Verify. You may be required to complete a new Form I-9 or update an existing Form I-9 before you create a case in E-Verify. However, some employees are exempt from the employment verification process, including Form I-9, under the E-Verify federal contractor rule.

Employees Exempt from the Form I-9 Process

Employees who were hired on or before November 6, 1986, are exempt from completing Form I-9 and cannot be verified in E-Verify. Individuals hired for employment in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) on or before November 27, 2009 are also not subject to Form I-9 or verification through E-Verify.

Employees with Special Requirements Relating to the Verification Process

Although you may not be required to verify certain employees in E-Verify, you must still comply with Form I-9 regulations. For more information on updating Form I-9, review the ‘Handbook for Employers: Instructions for Completing Form I-9 (M-274)’ found in the ‘View Essential Resources’ link on the left navigation menu.

Table 1: Employees with Exemptions or Special Requirements in the Verification Process


Form I-9


Employees previously verified in E-Verify

There are no special Form I-9 requirements under the FAR rule for these employees.  You must re-verify these employees as necessary under Form I-9 regulations.

These employees are completely exempt and may not be re-verified in E-Verify. See Section 3.3, Figure 5.

Employees who have an active confidential, secret or top secret security clearance in accordance with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM) or employees for whom background investigations have been completed and credentials issues pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12)

There are no special Form I-9 requirements under the FAR rule for these employees. If these individuals are new employees, they must complete Form I-9. If the individuals are existing employees, you must re-verify them as necessary under Form I‑9 regulations. 

If these employees meet the stated criteria, you are not required to verify them in E‑Verify. You may still choose to verify these employees in
E-Verify. For additional information, see Section 3.3. Figure 6.

Step 3: Completing new Forms I-9 or Updating Existing Forms I-9

Decide how you will verify your existing employees’ information on their Form I-9. You may either:

  • Complete new Forms I-9 for your existing employees, or
  • Update your employees’ existing Forms I-9.

NOTE: Form I-9 Retention Whichever option you choose for step 3, you must retain any previously completed Forms I-9 for the employee. You also must make the previous forms available for inspection if it is requested by an authorized official

To assist you in making this decision, review ‘Table 2: Options for Updating Existing Employees on Form I-9.’. 

Table 2: Options for Updating Existing Employees on Form I-9

Option Verification Process Avoiding Liability How This Decision Affects You
Option I:

Complete new Forms I-9 for all employees

Complete new Forms I-9 for those existing non-exempt employees that need to be verified. The current rules for Form I-9 apply. Verifying all non-exempt employees the same way without regard to their citizenship or immigration status or national origin helps avoid possible discrimination. You may find this option easier because the process is the same as the process for newly hired employees. 
Option II:

Complete new Forms I-9 when necessary and update existing Forms I-9 when  allowable

You and those employees who need to be verified must carefully examine and review their previously submitted Forms I-9 to determine:
  1. Which employees must be verified on a new Form I-9; and
  2. Which employees may be verified by updating their existing Form I-9.
To avoid possible Form I-9 violations, you must carefully determine which cases require a new Form I-9 using the guidance in Section 2.2.1. To avoid discrimination, your determination of which employees must complete or update their Forms I-9 may not be based on an employee’s citizenship status, immigration status or national origin.   This option may suit your company’s needs if you:
  1. Have few employees and/or
  2. Have sufficient resources to determine if your company needs to complete a new Form I-9 or update the existing one for each employee, using the guidance in Section 2.2.1.
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