500,000 Employers Now Enrolled in E-Verify

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that, as of January 2014, more than half a million employers are participating in the E-Verify program. E-Verify allows employers to verify online whether an individual is legally authorized to work in the United States. The increased use of this program is especially noteworthy for many people who participate in optional practical training (OPT), as a STEM OPT extension can only be granted to work for an employer enrolled in E-Verify.

Rapid Expansion of E-Verify Since 2012

E-Verify was begun in 1996, with a rollout that was accompanied by concerns about capacity and inaccurate information. Since that time, the USCIS has endeavored to enhance the system and improve the integrity of the program. The utilization of E-Verify increased from under 12,000 in fiscal year 1996, to over 111,000 in fiscal year 2012. Since then, the program has grown more than four-fold, to its current total of more than 500,000 employers.

STEM OPT Extension Allowed if Employer Uses E-Verify

As mentioned above, one key immigration benefit tied to E-Verify is the OPT extension option, allowing an additional 17 months of OPT for students with degrees in designated STEM disciplines. However, this option can only be used to work for an employer that participates in the E-Verify program. To that end, the USCIS created an online tool that helps foreign nationals identify companies enrolled in the program. This tool is discussed in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Search Tool to Find E-Verify Enrolled Employers (28.Dec.2012).


The increased use of E-Verify by employers throughout the United States makes is easier for STEM grads to find OPT opportunities. The program also ostensibly helps employers to determine whether an applicant is legitimately authorized to work in the United States. Those with questions about the E-Verify program are welcome to speak with a lawyer at the Murthy Law Firm.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.