I am wondering do companies in USA have access to a database to check out if a job applicant has US Green Card or not?

I saw on USCIS website that says if you want to check someone's immigration status, you shoulf have their written permission. Can/Do companies put such a permission into their application forms and take our signature to check it out when we apply for a job?

1 Answer 1


In the US, employers are required to implement a procedure called I-9 Employment Verification for each employee they hire. New employees must present proof of identity and proof of work authorization. The required standard of proof is specified by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Employees may either present one document that satisfies both requirements (list A), or two documents, one that covers each requirement (list B and list C). Most US citizens will either present a US passport book (list A, identity and work authorization), or a driver's license (list B, identity) and a birth certificate or social security card (list C, work authorization). Non-citizens with a valid work authorization will most commonly present a green card (permanent resident card) or a foreign passport with a valid work visa in it. Other documents are acceptable but less commonly used.

The employer is required to inspect each document and verify that it "reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to [the] employee presenting it," as well as fill out some paperwork (form I-9). This is then filed with USCIS, which may choose to investigate (and/or notify ICE) if the form contradicts their records. At no point are employers given access to US immigration data (however, employers participating in E-Verify can get a confirmation from DHS that the information submitted on the I-9 form appears to match those records). Most employers would not want to have access to such data anyway, because it is a liability. Employment discrimination on the basis of national origin is banned under the Civil Rights Act, and even having access to the data can make a discrimination complaint more difficult to defend.

  • Thank you so much for your complete answer. So there is no way for them to discover if I have or haven't Green Card, except they directly ask me to provide it to them. Commented Mar 9 at 4:49
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    Employees may participate in EVerify which gives an employer brief status about whether the documents the employee submitted agree with DHS and SSA records. The employee decides which of the allowed documents to submit; if the employee has a green card but submits a driver license and social security card the employer won't know about the green card. Commented Mar 9 at 5:42
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    @user3486308 an employer who asks whether you have a green card invites a discrimination suit. The employer can -- must -- ask you to prove that you are authorized to work in the US, and you can choose to show a green card to do so.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 10 at 0:10
  • To add, employment discrimination on the basis of citizenship status is also illegal, if the discrimination is against a US citizen, US national, US permanent resident, asylee, or refugee, unless citizenship is required for the job by law.
    – user102008
    Commented Mar 11 at 16:24

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