Georgia Immigration Law: Everything You Need to Know

You’ve finally finished your move to Georgia. Finding a place to live. Check. Getting the kids started at school. Check. 

Now, your employer wants you to bring in your documents for work to comply with Georgia immigration law. Uh-oh. You don’t have a green card yet.

You’re likely wondering — what is Georgia immigration law?

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about immigration laws in Georgia, how to check your immigration status, and what you need to do to be able to work in Georgia.

1. Federal Immigration Employment Laws

Georgia abides by all federal laws for employment, which means:

  • Georgia employers cannot refuse to hire you based on your country of origin.
  • Employers may only hire people legally authorized to work in the United States (citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), people in possession of a work permit (Employee Authorization Document or work visa).
  • The US Department of Labor requires employers to complete the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). This documents the above statuses.
  • Employers can be fined and arrested for breaking the law. They are also required to fire immigrant employees who work illegally.

Fact: A work permit is also green, but it restricts privileges to working inside the country. The “green card” refers to the permanent resident status which includes more benefits, such as the ability to travel.

2. Georgia Immigration Law 101

Georgia’s immigration law is notable for its inclusion of Georgia House Bill 87 into state law.

This law

  • Requires employers to use E Verify to confirm employees’ eligible work status.
  • Lets police officials demand documentation from people suspected of crimes.
  • Imposes increased penalties on employers who knowingly employ undocumented immigrants.

E Verify “compares your information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to confirm that you are authorized to work in the U.S.

  • If your information matches the records in these systems, your employer can hire you. If it doesn’t, you get a tentative nonconfirmation (TNC). 
  • (You can “contest” this. Check with an immigration lawyer to find out your rights for appealing the TNC in Georgia.)

This law operates in conjunction with existing federal laws (see above).

Because employers face strict penalties in Georgia, it is very important to learn how the law affects you as an employee, what steps you need to take to verify employment status and the consequences of not verifying.

3. How Georgia’s Immigration Law Affects You

When it comes to immigration law and penalties, Georgia is one of the strictest states in the United States.

It’s very important to make sure that you have the right immigration status to work in Georgia.

Other states with harsh immigration penalties include Alabama, South Carolina, Utah, and Indiana. Be especially mindful of federal and state laws in border states including Arizona, California, and Texas.

You can check your immigration status before applying to work to ensure that you are work-eligible and that you have the correct documentation.

Be sure to retain copies of your documents for future use.

If you have a situation that requires legal advice, you can check with Georgia Legal Aid or a similar nonprofit that provides electronic legal resources and in-person assistance.

4. Risks of Unlawful Employment

If you or a family member are hired to work and do not have the correct documentation, you can be arrested by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

If arrested, you will be detained in a detention center, jail, or shelter and held on bail.

Bail money frees you from detention until your trial. It certifies that you will return for trial.

Bail money can be paid in bonds, to a bond service collector or ICE. You can find out more about the bond process here.

Eventually, you will stand trial and have your case decided (deportation, remaining in the country, and/or additional penalties).

Ensuring that you know Georgia immigration law and have the correct documentation prevents arrest.

5. How to Verify Your Work Authorization in Georgia

For additional details, click this link.

Bring one of the following documents:

  • US Passport
  • Social Security Card
  • Foreign passport with I-94 (arrival/departure info) that certifies employee can work in US
  • Foreign passport with I-551 stamp (substitutes for a green card while green card is pending)
  • Employee Authorization Document (work permit) with picture
  • Permanent Resident card (green card) or Alien Register Receipt Card
  • Passport from Republic of Micronesia or Marshall Islands

or

Bring one of the following documents

  • Driver’s license or state ID card
  • ID card issued by federal or state or local government agencies
  • School ID card with a photograph
  • Voter’s registration card
  • U.S. Military card or draft letter
  • Military dependent’s ID card
  • U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card
  • Native American tribal document
  • Driver’s license issued by the Canadian government authority
  • (If under 18 without the above documents: school record or report card, clinic, doctor, or hospital record, day-care or nursery school card.)

with

  • Social Security Card that does not restrict employment
  • Birth certificate
  • Native American tribal document
  • U.S. citizen ID card

to your employer.

Employers will run these documents through the E Verify system.

6. Next Steps

Fingers crossed that everything goes well with your application process.

But if you or a loved one get in a tight spot and need a bail bond, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our trained, bilingual professionals are at your service 24/7.

We’ll help you navigate the process with our knowledge of Georgia immigration law, and our services are available nationwide.

Get ready to enjoy the Garden State with your new information about Georgia immigration law. It’s time to collect documents, make copies, and get your employment process smoothly started.

To new beginnings!

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