How to Complete an I-9 Form in 2024 How to Complete an I-9 Form in 2024

How to Complete an I-9 Form in 2024

Are you a new hire required to notarize your I-9 form, or a manager facing the challenge of verifying IDs for 20 new team members? Understanding the intricacies of this process is crucial for a smooth onboarding experience.

Time is a valuable asset, and I’m here to help you navigate this task efficiently and effectively. Let’s dive in without further delay.

What’s an I-9 form?

The I-9 form, is an official document from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It serves to confirm an employee’s identity and their eligibility to work in the United States.

Both the prospective employee and the employer, or an “authorized representative” acting on the company’s behalf, are required to complete this form. 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.

Notarizations are Not Required For I-9 Forms

“It’s a common misconception that notarization is necessary for I-9 forms. Contrary to popular belief, the language and policies of the I-9 form are somewhat outdated and misleading. Many assume that notarization is required; however, it’s quite the contrary. In fact, notaries public who affix their seal on an I-9 form risk losing their state-appointed commission.

The official stance from the USCIS clarifies this misunderstanding: 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

ID check please!

Ah, the I-9 form – a delightful trip back to the bureaucratic stone age, courtesy of our friends at the USCIS. Picture this: your employer, burdened with the responsibility of filling out this ancient relic correctly. Meanwhile, some of our “creative” competitors spin tales about the legality of Remote Online Notarizations for I-9s. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot more  illegal than jaywalking.

Here’s the kicker: government regulations are jogging leisurely behind the sprinting technology. The governments current ID verification process for I-9’s is a nostalgic nod to the disco era of the 70s and 80s. Sure, Remote Online Notarization is like a high-security, tech-savvy bouncer checking IDs against top-secret databases. But alas, our current I-9 process is more like a sleepy doorman at a local dive bar squinting at your driver’s license.

So What to Do to Get an I-9 Form Completed?

So, how do you get this time capsule of a form completed? Welcome back to the good old days of brick-and-mortar. That’s right, it’s time to hunt down a mobile notary or play “notary near me” bingo. Online methods are the appetizer, but you’ll need a real-life, pen-wielding human to seal the deal. It’s not just old-fashioned; it’s vintage.

And here’s a plot twist: when a notary morphs into an “authorized representative,” they’re not really flexing their notary muscles. No stamps, no seals, just a fancy title in Section 2. They’ll eyeball your ID like a hawk and wrap up Section 2 while you awkwardly stand there.

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.

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 present era, you can get the rest of your legal documents notarized in less than 10 minutes with BlueNotary.

How to Complete an I-9 Form in 2024
How to Complete an I-9 Form in 2024

General Questions About I-9 Form

1. What documents are acceptable for verifying identity and employment authorization when completing an I-9 form?

When completing an I-9 form, employees can present documents from Lists A, B, or C. List A documents verify both identity and employment authorization, like a U.S. passport or Permanent Resident Card. List B verifies identity (e.g., driver’s license), and List C verifies employment authorization (e.g., Social Security card). The USCIS provides a detailed list in the I-9 instructions.

2. Are there penalties for failing to complete the I-9 form correctly or within the required timeframe?

Failing to complete the I-9 form correctly or on time can lead to penalties for both employers and employees. Employers risk fines for various violations, including incomplete or late forms. Penalties vary based on violation severity, history of violations, and intent. Criminal penalties may apply if employers knowingly hire unauthorized workers.

3. How should employers handle the I-9 verification process for remote employees?

Employers can designate an authorized representative to complete the I-9 form for remote employees. This representative, not necessarily a notary, must physically examine documents. Employers may use third-party services or delegate to trusted colleagues or HR professionals near remote employees. A clear understanding of I-9 processes and legal obligations is crucial. Despite challenges, this approach ensures compliance with USCIS requirements for distributed workforces.

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