When an employee provides an alien registration number upon hiring, you may wonder how you know it is legitimate. When asked for proof of registration, your employee may give you an alien identification number, claiming that he got it from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, or USCIS. The good news is that the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have a program in place called E-Verify to help you with both of these situations. Both businesses and individuals can use this service to run an alien number lookup to verify that the employee can legally work in the U.S. Employers should submit an E-Verify case within three days of a new hire beginning work.


You can use the government's E-Verify website to run a check on an employee to determine the type of employment authorization the person has. Employees can use this same tool to run a self check on themselves.

1. Get a USCIS Online Account for E-Verify

Go to the USCIS.gov. Select the "Enroll in E-Verify" link. Allow 15 to 30 minutes for the enrollment process. Provide your company profile including business name, physical and mailing address, employer identification number, and names of company representatives authorized to access E-Verify. You will also be required to provide the first three digits of your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. If you are unsure of this number, an E-Verify representative will help you locate it.

2. Log in to E-Verify

Log-in to the E-Verify site with your assigned number and password. Select the "My cases" link and "New case." Using the employee's I-9, provide the information the employee has submitted, including immigration status and any identification numbers such the alien number on the green card, driver's license number or social security card number. You will be prompted through each step. Verify you have spelled all words and entered the numbers correctly.

3. Compare Photos

Review a photo you have of the employee and compare it to one provided on the E-Verify screen to determine if the individuals are the same. Respond "Yes" or "No" to confirm or deny a photo match.

4. Review Case Results

When looking at the case results, you will see either an "Employment authorized" or "DHS tentative non-confirmation" message will appear on your screen. If the alien identification number provided to you is accurate, the first message will be shown. You must then select "Close case.". If the alien identification number is not valid, you will receive the second message. The case will automatically be referred to DHS for further investigation.

5. Perform a Self Check

To verify your own alien identification number, go to the USCIS website and select "E-Verify self check" under the Employment verification section. You will be directed to enter your alien identification number, name, address, birth date and other identifying information. This includes a quiz section with information only you could answer, to confirm you are the one submitting the request. Your work eligibility status will be provided. If your alien identification number does not match, you will be assisted in resolving the matter.