Florida Employers Required to Verify Employment Eligibility

April 21, 2020

On March 12, 2020, the State Employment Verification Eligibility Act was signed, which requires employers to verify their workforce employment eligibility.

At a Glance

  • Effective January 1, 2021, private employers must use E-verify or use alternative methods to verify employment eligibility for all newly hired employees, as well as any renewed or extended contract employees.
  • Effective January 1, 2021, public employers, contractors, and subcontractors must use e-verify to verify employment eligibility for all newly hired employees.
  • Effective July 1, 2020, to be eligible to apply for an economic development incentive, employers must use e-verify to verify employment eligibility for all newly hired employees
  • The full bill text can be found here.


On March 12, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the State Employment Verification Eligibility Act. The act requires private employers, public employers, and contractors or subcontractors to verify their workforce employment eligibility.  

Public Employers, Contractors, and Subcontractors 

Effective July 1, 2020, employers who have applied for an economic development incentive must provide proof with their application that the business is registered with and uses the E-verify system to verify work authorization of all newly hired employees.

If the employer is found to be in violation, they must return all economic development incentive funds to the department within 30 days. 

Beginning January 1, 2021, public employers, contractors, and subcontractors must register and use e-verify for all newly hired employees. These employers may not enter into a contract until the employer registers and used e-verify. A subcontractor must provide the contractor with an affidavit, which must be retained by the contractor for the duration of the contract, stating that the subcontractor does not employ, contract with, or subcontract with an unauthorized alien

Private Employers 

Beginning January 1, 2021, private employers must verify the employment eligibility of newly hired employees in Florida.  If an employee is a contract employee, upon renewal or extension of the contract, the person must have their employment eligibility verified. 

An employer may use E-verify, or alternate verification methods, including:

  • The person may provide the same documentation that is required by USCIS on Form I-9.
  • Documentation must be retained for at least 3 years after the person’s initial date of employment.

Copies of any documentation relied upon for verification may be requested by: 

  • The department of Law Enforcement
  • The Attorney General
  • The State Attorney
  • The Statewide Prosecutor.

Any violation of the legislation may resolve in revocation of licensing. 

Compliance with Federal Requirements for Form I-9 and E-verify

Private employers who choose to use E-verify for employees at a work-site in Florida and also have employees in other states, are not required to use E-verify in other states unless those states have E-verify mandates.

Next Steps

Employers who are submitting an application for economic development incentives must comply with the legislation by July 1, 2020. Employers should update their onboarding and new hire practices by January 1, 2021. Public employers, contractors, and subcontractors must register for E-verify by January 1, 2021 and begin verifying newly hired employees. Private employers may choose to register for E-verify by January 1, 2021 or they may choose to use the alternative method of verification.

If registering for E-verify, that can be completed on the agency website. If you use onboarding and need to add E-Verify to your onboarding module, please see PCTY-51548 Add E-Verify for next steps.

Private employers should prepare to retain documents used for verification for 3 years after the employee hire date, should it be requested by a Florida state authority.


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This information is provided as a courtesy, may change and is not intended as legal or tax guidance. Employers with questions or concerns outside the scope of a Payroll Service Provider are encouraged to seek the advice of a qualified CPA, Tax Attorney or Advisor.