Has your new employer asked y0u to get your I-9 form notarized? Or are you a manager looking to onboard 20 new employees and aren’t sure how to guarantee their ID’s are verified?
There’s a couple things you need to know about this process and how you can get it done ASAP, because after all, time is money and money is time, so I won’t waste anymore of yours with this intro. Let’s get started.
What’s an I-9 form?
The I-9 form, is a legal document issued by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), that verifies the identity and employment eligibility for employees hired within the United States.
This is a form that needs to be filled out by both the prospective employee and the employer OR by an “authorized representative” acting on behalf of the company. According to the official USCIS website article “Completing Form I-9 for Remote Hire“, this could include personnel officers, foremen, agents or of course notaries public.
Sounds simple enough? Not really.
Notarization’s are Not Required For I-9 Forms
The I-9 form’s wording and policies haven’t quite caught up with the times. The way it is written leads many people to believe that the I-9 form DOES require notarization, when really in a way it’s almost the opposite. Any notary public who stamps his or her seal on the form itself actually places themselves at risk for losing their commission as a state-appointed notary public.
The gist of it is that the official USCIS statement is this:
When completing Form I-9, the employer or authorized representative must physically examine, with the employee being physically present, each document presented to determine if it reasonably appears to be genuine and relates to the employee presenting it. Reviewing or examining documents via webcam is not permissible.USCIS Archive
It’s important to remember that any misdoings on filling out this document fall primarily on the shoulders of the employer. Some of our competitors are less than honest in their reporting of this unfortunately archaic ID verification product (cough*OneNotary *cough) and lead employers to believe that performing Remote Online Notarizations for I-9 is actually legal, when it is quite clearly stated that unfortunately it is not.
This is a classic example of government bodies moving slower than the times. The current ID verification process has not really evolved since the 1970s or 1980s. Despite Remote Online Notarization technology actually providing tighter security and a more robust verification process that checks ID’s against government databases, the I-9 ID checks at present are the equivalent of an ID check to get into any nightclub.
So What to Do to Get an I-9 Form Completed?
For this one, you will have to return to the old brick and mortar method. This means you’ll need to find a mobile notary or google “notary near me” to find someone in your area who can dash your “t’s” and dot your “i’s” as soon as possible. At present, online solutions are only partial and eventually you will need to get the ID’s verified in person. It’s just the way it is until the process catches up with the times
When an employer gives the designation of “authorized representative” to a notary. The Notary is not actually acting as an official Notary entirely. The authorized representative will not perform a notarization or affix a Notary seal to the document. The Notary will write “authorized representative”, in the title field in Section 2.
The authorized rep will then review the employee’s physical identity documents in their presence and will finish completing Section 2.
As employers often instruct their employees to take the I-9 form to a Notary for completion, Notaries are advised to ask the employee for a copy of the email, which they can keep for posterity and to verify they acted according to requests.
Without instructions or a way to contact the employer on the part of the employee, then there is no law that prohibits the Notary from completing the form. Just be sure to make sure the Notary is acting as an authorized representative.
TL;DR You’ve got to get it done like the year is 1980.
Until the USCIS joins us in the future, you can get the rest of your legal documents notarized in less than 10 minutes with BlueNotary.