USCIS recently provided clarification regarding the management of special characters in people’s names in E-Verify. According to USCIS, besides letters, the only characters allowed in E-Verify are spaces, single quotes and hyphens. Employers are guided, as best practice, to enter employees’ names into E-Verify as they appear in Section 1 of the I-9 Form, without any of the special characters that E-Verify does not accept.
USCIS and E-Verify are able to reconcile variations in names based on known variations in spelling due to language and culture. Certain algorithms are in place to assist in this process. However, to ensure the integrity of the E-Verify system, details about the algorithms are not made public. If E-Verify cannot confirm that variations in spelling refer to the same person, the case is sent to verifiers for a name check review process.