On October 2nd, E-Verify announced that the photo matching tool will be made available for Designated Agents in late 2009. The photo matching process, also known as the photo screening tool, is an automated step in the E-Verify system which prompts you to compare an employee’s DHS-issued photo document (presented during the I-9 process) with a photo displayed in E-Verify. At present, the photo screening tool will only “activate” when an employee presents a recent version of a permanent resident card (I-551) or employment authorization document (EAD) as proof of employment authorization. According to insider sources, E-Verify is looking to add photos from US passports and state driver’s licenses, but no timeline has been announced as of yet.
DHS formally launched the photo screening tool in September 2007, but has only made it available for organizations performing E-Verify checks of their own employees. Today’s announcement will affect organizations participating as a Designated Agent (DA), a role defined for companies who conduct E-Verify queries on behalf of other employers or clients. E-Verify DAs can view the official announcement on the home screen in their E-Verify account (reproduced below). They will also need to take a refresher tutorial and mastery test regarding the photo tool before resuming their use of E-Verify. More information should be forthcoming at the end of the month.