What is a US Form I-9?
Form I-9 requirements were established in November 1986 when Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). IRCA prohibits employers from hiring people, including US citizens, for employment in the United States without verifying their identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.
The I-9 form, issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) verifies the identity and employment eligibility for employees hired in the US.
The form is to be completed by both the employee and the employer (or authorized representative). As part of the process, the employee must present documents verifying his or her eligibility to work in the U.S., and the employer (or authorized representative) must physically examine these documents. By Jan. 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version, dated 11/14/2016.
What are the Changes to Form I-9?
Among the changes in the new version, Section 1 asks for “other last names used” rather than “other names used,” and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.
Other changes to the I-9 Form include:
- The addition of prompts to ensure information is entered correctly.
- The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
- A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
- A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
Notarizing a US Form I-9 for Verification of ID
More and more companies are centralizing their Human Resources departments and are in need of agents to help them validate the identification needed on US Form I-9. Employees are not always hired close to their employer locations!
Consequently, more employers are asking prospective "remote" employees to find a Notary Public to help complete the employment forms, specifically for I-9.
According to the USCIS Handbook for Employers, employers “may designate someone to fill out Forms I-9 for you, such as a personnel officer, foreman, agent, or anyone else acting on your behalf, such as a notary public”
You must complete form I-9 and bring the original ID's to the Notary in order to the verify your eligibility to be employed in the US along with your employer's email and instructions.
A Notary Public has the full discretion to complete your I-9 as a designee of your employer and reserves the right to refuse assistance with this form.
Do I-9 Forms Require Notarization?
As of today, there is no Notary certificate wording included in the I-9 form, nor is a Notary asked to affix his or her stamp nor seal to the I-9 form, so the answer is no.
When an employer designates a Notary Public or other individual to complete a Form I-9, that person is designated as an “authorized representative.” The representative is simply asked to certify that the appropriate identity documents were presented (as explained in Section 2 of the I-9 form).
The authorized representative must review the employee’s identity documents while the employee is in their presence and then complete Section 2.
The authorized representative does not perform a notarization or affix a Notary stamp nor seal to the I-9, since they are not acting as an official Notary Public. In the title field in Section 2, the Notary should write “authorized representative.”
Though the form itself does not require notarization, there are times when an employer will present a new employee with an email instructing him or her to take the form to a Notary Public for completion.
In these cases, the Notary is advised to ask the signer for a copy of the email, which he or she can then keep, verifying that you acted within the employer’s request.
If instructions do not accompany the I-9 form, and the employee is not able to contact the employer, then there is no law prohibiting the Notary Public from completing the form - as long as it is clear the Notary is acting as an authorized representative, and not as a Notary Public.
How Much Will Notary Charge For I-9?
If a Notary is acting as an authorized representative, then handling the I-9 form would not be considered a notarial act, and therefore not within the scope of state mandated fees for performing notarial services.
As with any non-notarial services provided, the Notary is free to determine the fee for providing the service of signing the I-9 form. A Notary Public may assist you for a reasonable fee.
Important Notes to the Notary for Completing I-9 Forms
Do Not accept expired ID documents for the I-9 form completion!
Which Forms to Use for the I-9 Form?
One (1) original document from List A OR
Two (2) original documents: one from List B (Identity) AND one from List C (work eligibility).
How to Complete the I-9 Form
Complete Section 2: Employer Review and Verification Be sure to include Document Title, Issuing Authority, Document Number and Expiration Date
Special Note About "Green Cards" Lawful Permanent Residence Cards
Permanent Resident Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-551)
These cards may or may not contain a signature.
A signature is not required for the card to be valid for Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, purposes.