Okay, this post may not be about what you are initially thinking. It is not about having that totally awesome job where you travel the world and actually get paid to work. If that was the case, I would not be blogging about this very matter right now. Unfortunately, I recently found out that my passport caused a problem with my new firm verifying my eligibility for employment in the states. How is that you say? Sit back and learn.
So, for those of you who don’t know or perhaps you have been with your current employer forever, when you start a new job with a new employer, that employer has three business days to certify that you are eligible for employment in the states. Okay, easy enough because that has been the case for so long. I mean, you’ve always had to supply to one piece of evidence from list A or two from list B of the I-9 document, right? Yes, that is correct; however, in the past this process was not handled electronically in most cases. Moreover, DHS was not always involved. Well, now they are.
So how does your passport have any bearing on your job? Well, allow me to use myself as an example. As it has been stated so many times in my postings, I LOVE to travel. Absolutely LOVE it. Well, last year I had a little more than 3 years left on my current passport and the number of available pages was extremely limited. So, I applied to have extra pages added to my current passport instead of waiting for it to get completely filled up and then applying for a new one. STATION BREAK HERE – Before you decided that is a great idea and that you too should do the same, December 31, 2015 was the end of that option (hopefully they will bring it back, but I doubt). Well, the only thing that changed with my passport is that is become a bit thicker. Same picture, same control number, same biographical information. Nothing changed.
Fast forward to April 2016 when I present my passport to satisfy the requirement under list A of the I-9 form. The HR representative enters my information into the E-Verify system (the system the employers must use to verify your eligibility) and I go about my merry way completing orientation activities. Well, the next day I receive an email and an IM notification from the HR representative informing me that there was a problem with my passport. The document was flagged in the system as a mismatch and I need to determine whether I want to have the matter investigate or not. If I choose “or not” that means I will not have my new job. So, of course I option to go through the process and have the matter investigated.
Lucky for me my first call to DHS was my last call. Apparently I was dealing with a woman who was very well versed with these “mismatch” issues and asked me one question. “Mam, did you have pages added to your passport?” “Um yes” was my reply. She said that it would be a quick fix because this problem happens all the time. With that bit of reassurance I jokingly remarked, “I guess I have to say in this job until my passport expires so this doesn’t happen again, eh?” She laughed and the conversation ended. It has almost been one month since I started my dream career and I have not had any more issues, so I can clearly say that the problem is resolved.
Bottom line, if you are applying for a job within the US and use your passport as documentation to verify your status, just be prepared to undergo a similar process if you have made any updates or modifications to your passport recently. I am sure that this issue does not happen that often, but at least you can share this tidbit with someone who may be in a similar situation.