Notary Bulletin I-9 Forms: What Notaries Need To Know By Patti Wulfestieg on August 13, 2014 in Alternate Income Opportunities In the current global workforce, hiring employees remotely is a growing trend. And the federal government is auditing more businesses to make sure they are complying with the requirements to complete I-9 forms for every employee. Consequently, more employers are asking prospective remote employees to find a Notary to help complete the forms. Here is some basic information to help Notaries who are asked to deal with an I-9 form. What Is The I-9 Form? The I-9 form, issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) verifies the identity and employment eligibility for employees hired in the U.S. 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. 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.” Do I-9 Forms Require Notarization? As of 2013, there is no certificate wording included in the I-9 form, nor is a Notary asked to affix his or her seal to the form, so the answer is no. The representative is simply asked to certify that the appropriate documents were presented (as explained in Section 2 of the I-9 form). The employer then has three days to complete the I-9 form. 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 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 from completing the form — as long as it is clear the Notary is acting as an Authorized Representative, and not as a Notary. UPDATE 8-25-14: Restrictions For California Notaries In August 2014, the California Secretary of State’s Notary Public & Special Filings Section clarified with the NNA that California Notaries who are not qualified and bonded as immigration consultants under the Business and Professions Code Sections 22440-22449, may not complete or make the certification on Form I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity. The Secretary’s office considers Form I-9 to be an immigration form. Any California Notary who is not an immigration consultant violates Government Code Section 8223(c). The California Secretary of State's office has told the NNA that separate background checks are required for California Notary Public commission applicants who also wish to register as immigration consultants in the state. Keeping A Record While this is not a notarial act, the Notary should record the transaction (perhaps in a spreadsheet), including the name of the employee, the name of the company requesting the completion of Section 2, and the date you completed the document transaction. Remember, do not use your journal of notarial acts to keep the record of I-9 transactions because they are not notarizations. Can The Notary Charge For I-9s? If you are 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. Patti Wulfestieg is a Compliance Specialist at the National Notary Association. Update for California Notaries, 9-3-14: We’ve received many questions about the California Secretary of State’s recent statement that CA Notaries should not complete or make certifications on a Form I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity, if the Notary is not a qualified and bonded immigration consultant in California. At this time, we have not received any additional direction on this issue from the Secretary of State’s office other than what was shared with the NNA in August. We will let our Notaries know if we receive any updates from the CA Secretary of State’s office. Employees who work with I-9 forms and hold a CA Notary commission may wish to consult with a qualified attorney or their employer’s legal counsel to determine if these new guidelines will require any changes in their duties. Email Share 59 Comments Add your commentSheila R18 Aug 2014This was very helpful! I have been asked to either do the I-9 or notarize them, and I've never been sure what to do. Great information.susan e long18 Aug 2014I just did an I-9 form and it had a separate page for the notary to sign and affix sealRichard18 Aug 2014I had this very experience last week. But I did ask the individual to obtain a letter (which was emailed) from the employer appointing me their "authorized representative" to sign the I9 on their behalf.Georgia Percy18 Aug 2014These articles are very helpful.Linda Panzo18 Aug 2014I've been doing the i-9 verification for several years now. I agree that the $20 fee doesn't seem to be worth some peoples time. However, here in MI, max fee for Notorial service is $10, anything over that is travel, etc., expense. Considering that I set the time and place and the whole verificaton takes less than 5 minutes and usually less than 1 to 5 miles, I find these type of appointments a nice supplement to my income. BTW sometimes I just walk across the street to my local coffee shop.barbara thorne18 Aug 2014I have a question relating to this sentence: "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 from completing the form — as long as it is clear the Notary is acting as an Authorized Representative, and not as a Notary." How would a notary know she is an authorized rep if there are no instructions from the company?Jan Giovannini-Hill18 Aug 2014Can we also do this in California?National Notary Association20 Aug 2014Hi Jan, thank you for your question. Please see our updated 8-25-14 information in the article above for California Notaries from the Secretary of State's office.Debbie F.19 Aug 2014If I would not acting as a Notary, and as a Representative instead, do I have the right to refuse to do the I-9 form. I am a Notary and did not sign up to be a Co. Representative to a company that I do not know.National Notary Association19 Aug 2014Hello Debbie, Thanks for your question. Since acting as an authorized representative for an I-9 form isn't a notarial act, you may refuse a request to perform this service if you choose. Have a great day.Kathy21 Aug 2014It does seem to me that $20 to do an I9 form is actually profitable based on low to no overhead costs as well as the amount of time literally can be about 10 minutes. Anybody have any suggestion as to how to 'generate' availability of this service to the companies that do this? Basically, a form of marketing?Cheryl Lindsley22 Aug 2014I sent an email regarding this very subject to the California Secretary of State. This is the reply that I received: "California notarial law does not authorize notaries public to verify the information on the I-9 forms in thier capacity as a notary public. California notaries public are required to use a properly worded acknowledgment or jurat when performing thier notarial duties. Sincerely, Notary Public & Special Filings Section".Sandra22 Aug 2014I wan to verify I'm getting this correct. The Notary completes Section 2 (document information and makes copies of docs), signs name, dates, prints name and enters "Authorized Rep". The Company fills in the hire date, Company name and Company address.Jean Zei22 Aug 2014Yes, I do often act as an Authorized Representative for a hiring agencies and companies, (in the capacity explained by the government document - to witness ID) only after I have a contract offer from the hiring agency. I do this for about $90 per assignment. I do a few a month. I instruct my callers to obtain a letter from the employer to me, fill out the i9 form as well as they can, bring me the form and their IDs, I also offer free notarization to the client if they bring anything else at the same appointment - it's almost the simplest thing I do. (Protip: I actually keep blank i9 forms in my job bag incase we mess anything up.) (the clients likely do not know that it doesn't get notarized, just nod and say "yes I can", but don't notarize it, just fill in ID and sign it! )Steve22 Aug 2014As a California Notary Public I know how rewarding it can be to help people who are in need. However, I would be extremely cautious in providing this type of service without some type of extra insurance or training. On the I-9 you are attesting to the genuineness of the documents presented, and stating that to the best of your knowledge this person is authorized to work in the U.S. As you aren't performing a notarization I don't think your standard notary E&O insurance is going to cover you here if you make a mistake identifying the documents. Has anyone taken a course in document identification, such as how to identify the security features found in genuine U.S. passports, Social Security cards, military IDs, Permanent Resident Cards, etc? Other than through routine handing and your initial notary course, I would guess not. Am I being overly cautious? Maybe. I know there is a lot of liability in being a notary, and verifying IDs, but that is why I have E&O insurance if I make a mistake. Just something to think about (and I'm not in the insurance business, just thinking about how litigious our society is when something goes wrong).Rita C24 Aug 2014Really enjoyed all the information on this discussion!Cathy B28 Aug 2014I used to do these forms on a daily basis for my old employer as being the personnel representative for the department. I was also the Notary Public for the department. If the State of Calif. requires special training certification, maybe offer the class at the next annual conference.Grace01 Sep 2014I used to work in law offices where I was required to have a California Notary commission to notarize documents. I now work in construction as an office manager and have a CA notary commission (which I rarely use). I have to hire several hundred union employees and fill out their paperwork, including I-9's to build a large hospital. Is the S.O.S. saying that I can't do their hiring paperwork, i.e. the I-9, in my capacity as an Office Manager? Am I required to resign my CA notary commission just to be able to hire these men? It seems rather illogical that anybody else in the office could fill out an I-9, but I wouldn't be permitted to by the S.O.S. "UPDATE 8-25-14: Restrictions For California Notaries In August 2014, the California Secretary of State’s Notary Public & Special Filings Section clarified with the NNA that California Notaries who are not qualified and bonded as immigration consultants under the Business and Professions Code Sections 22440-22449, may not complete or make the certification on Form I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity. The Secretary’s office considers Form I-9 to be an immigration form. Any California Notary who is not an immigration consultant violates Government Code Section 8223(c). The California Secretary of State's office has told the NNA that separate background checks are required for California Notary Public commission applicants who also wish to register as immigration consultants in the state. "GS Peery01 Sep 2014Haven't received or read anything from the CA Secretary of State's Notary Section Legal Updates website regarding I-9's. Thanks for the Legal Update !GS Peery01 Sep 2014Thanks for the Legal Update on 8-25-14, from the CA Sec of State, regarding I-9's and acting as an Immigration Consultant. Never heard anything from the SOS's office nor anything on their website.Jenni B02 Sep 2014This is interesting to me because in my job, I have duties of a notary and I am also the authorized rep to fill out I-9's for new employees. Although I am not in California, I'd like to know how this would affect a CA notary with the same type of duties. Would I no longer be able to fill out I-9's because I am also a notary?Marie A02 Sep 2014In my position with my employer, I am responsible for completing the new hire packages which includes verifying all the I-9 forms for new hires and completing the certification. This is not a notarial duty. I am also a notary for my employer when needed. I do not perform any other notarial acts outside of my employment. My notary was obtained only due to my position with my new employer. Does this mean I can no longer verify and certify the I-9 forms when I complete the new employment packages included in my job duties?Sandy Duvall02 Sep 2014I do not agree with the Secretary of State's office decision, whether a Notary can complete an I9. The Notary is acting as a Company Rep, NOT a Notary! Why are they saying you have to be a bonded Imiigration Consultant?! If the Notary is not acknoweding or documenting this as a Notarial act, how can they enforce this?Paula Hirsch02 Sep 2014My job as Office Services Coordinator for a branch office requires that I complete Section 2. Is this now a violation per "may not complete or make the certification on Form I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity." ?Nona02 Sep 2014Thank you for the article. I have readUPDATE 8-25-14: Restrictions For California Notaries And I just want to verify our family had a small dairy I do the hiring package for new employees. I am a notary public in California, so now I am not allowed to sign the I-9?Paul Y02 Sep 2014I usually notarize a copy certification by document custodian of the ID. Totally legal. Employer gets a certified copy of ID to put in the employee file to support the signed (not notarized) I-9.Linda Millstone02 Sep 2014I am a California Notary. I am also the staff accountant/office manager for a private company. As office manager I hire office personnel and am required to complete the I9 for new-hires. Does this mean that I need to be bonded as an immigration consultant?Leslie02 Sep 2014Steve -- I have completed many I9s on behalf of a company owned by my employer. As an authorized representative, you are verifying that the document "reasonably appears to be genuine and relate to the person presenting it." If employers needed special training in forgeries to use reasonable judgment, no I9s would ever be completed in the workplace.Jack Crawford02 Sep 2014If it's acceptable to both the employer and employee would it be alright to make copies of the ID document(s) and perform a California Copy Certification by Document Custodian?Curt Williams02 Sep 2014This is from the USCIS.gov website indicating that an employer may designate Notary public as authorized rep. I cannot find restriction on CA SoS website "You may designate an authorized representative to fill out Forms I-9 on behalf of your company, including personnel officers, foremen, agents or notary public. The Department of Homeland Security does not require the authorized representative to have specific agreements or other documentation for Form I-9 purposes. If an authorized representative fills out Form I-9 on your behalf, you are still liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process."Curt Williams02 Sep 2014More information from last comment http://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/i-9-central-questions-answers/faq/i-hire-my-employees-remotely-how-do-i-complete-form-i-9 You may designate an authorized representative to fill out Forms I-9 on behalf of your company, including personnel officers, foremen, agents or notary public. The Department of Homeland Security does not require the authorized representative to have specific agreements or other documentation for Form I-9 purposes. If an authorized representative fills out Form I-9 on your behalf, you are still liable for any violations in connection with the form or the verification process. When completing Form I-9, you or authorized representative must physically examine 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. If the authorized representative refuses to complete Form I-9 (including providing a signature) another authorized representative may be selected. DHS does not require the authorized representative to have specific agreements or other documentation for Form I-9 purposes. If you hire a notary public, the notary public is acting as an authorized representative of you, not as a notary. The notary public must perform the same required actions as an authorized representative. When acting as an authorized representative, the notary public should not provide a notary seal on Form I-9. Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/27/2014Kathleen04 Sep 2014I have also worked in a position where I was responsible for the completion of the I9s as part of the new employment package. I also now work for a small business and wonder if I would have to resign my notary commission in order to perform these duties as part of the Personnel Manager position. I also think it makes no snense.Kathleen04 Sep 2014I have also worked in a position where I was responsible for the completion of the I9s as part of the new employment package. I also now work for a small business and wonder if I would have to resign my notary commission in order to perform these duties as part of the Personnel Manager position. I also think it makes no snense.David Krause04 Sep 2014I'm not in California, but I don't see how the State of California has any say whatsoever in the matter of how a Federal form is processed. Immigration policy is strictly the domain of the Federal government.Kirsti Donaldson05 Sep 2014As a CA Notary, and as previously instructed by the NNA, I have been attaching a CA Ack or CA Jurat to the I-9 Form, stating that the Employees Signature is VALID on the form. Also in the Box on the I-9 Form titled "Certification" we write in "See Attached CA Acknowledgement or Ca Jurat." And then attach one of the forms to the I-9. If this procedure is NOT correct, I would appreciate clarification.John B.08 Sep 2014Wow Do any one even if you go back and read these ? Many of you keep saying the same thing and asking the basic same question but nobody dare to answer! I was looking into this because I work at a location the people come in and asked all the time for an I-9 form to be done! To those of you who are Notary's currently work at California business is doing the I-9 signing for that company that company has hired you to sign their I-9 forms you don't attach a notary you just sign it and fill out on behalf of that company that's your job! As a notary no we cannot sign the I-9 form unless we carry a higher insurance bond and we pay the $30 a pass a background check for the required thing $30 and background check that's all ! Not bad!National Notary Association08 Sep 2014Hello John, Please note that the California Secretary of State's office informed the NNA in August that CA Notaries who are not licensed and bonded immgration consultants should not perform I-9 services, either as a Notary or in a non-notarial capacity. See the updates in the article above. We will update this article further if we receive any additional clarification or new information from the CA Secretary of State's office.Denise Giltzow08 Sep 2014I work in an HR office and am required to complete the employer's section of an I-9 for our company's employees which is a duty unrelated to my notary duties. This new ruling implies that I am no longer able to complete the employer's section as part of my non-notary duties for my employer. Please tell me this in not the case. Thank you.National Notary Association08 Sep 2014Hello Denise, At this time, the CA Secretary of State's office has not provided us any additional clarification to their statement to Notaries regarding I-9 forms in California. You may wish to consult with your employer's legal counsel or a qualified attorney for advice on how the Secretary of State's information may affect your duties. We will update the article if we are provided with any new information by the state Notary office. Sue10 Sep 2014In regards to California's SoS email: California Government Code Section 8223(c) will be trumped by any Federal Code. The law that applies to situations where state and federal laws disagree is called the supremacy clause, which is part of article VI of the Constitution. The supremacy clause contains what's known as the doctrine of pre-emption, which says that the federal government wins in the case of conflicting legislation. CA can have this statute all it wants, but it will not hold up if contested. In related news, you can "legally"(per the state) grow 99 pot plans in California too, but The Feds can shut you down if they want ;-)Diana Perez20 Oct 2014I'm a Notary in the State of Florida, What are the requirements to process I-9 Forms in Florida, do we need to attached a Jurat to the form?National Notary Association20 Oct 2014Hello Diana, regarding your question about jurats, please refer to this section of the article: Do I-9 Forms Require Notarization? As of 2013, there is no certificate wording included in the I-9 form, nor is a Notary asked to affix his or her seal to the form, so the answer is no. The representative is simply asked to certify that the appropriate documents were presented (as explained in Section 2 of the I-9 form). The employer then has three days to complete the I-9 form. 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 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 from completing the form — as long as it is clear the Notary is acting as an Authorized Representative, and not as a Notary.Desmond OConnor17 Nov 2014The issue is that USCIS - states that an employer may use an Authorized Representative or Notary Public. It is not a function of a Notary Public regardless of the state of commission to complete the I-9 form. I think they (USCIS) erred in informing the public that notaries are in a position to complete this form in their capacity of as notary. I will not speculate why they made this decision. While CA SOS states California Notaries who are not qualified and bonded as immigration consultants under the Business and Professions Code Sections 22440-22449, may not complete or make the certification on Form I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity. My question does this codes apply to the employer or their designated representative non notary such as a foreman HR specialistSheila D25 Jan 2015I would like to signup for this type of work can anyone share the website to apply?R Whitmore29 Jan 2015I would like to see more information on Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana laws concerning Notary Publics.Paul Cooper03 Aug 2015I was asked to quote an I9 verification so I called the NH S.O.S. to ask if it was legal, to which I was emphatically told it is not. In NH a person cannot touch a federal form as a notary, or agree to sign as an authorized representative of a company unless directly hired by the company and whose connection with the company is OTHER than that of a notary. I believe this is based on either Federal or NH general laws and not a specific regulation such as Texas and California have. At any rate, the S.O.S. representative seemed very familiar with this "problem" but left no room to allow accepting this signing in any way, shape, or form. I neglected to ask if I could witness the signature and then testify on a separate acknowledgment that the signer's signature was legitimate which might be ok since I am not touching the document but anything more than witnessing a signature is definitely a problem for NH S.O.S.jackie17 Aug 2015Im with steve, I have been a notary public in tx. for a few years, but it takes a very sharp eye and know which documents are legal or not, I have preferred not to do these, have been asked a few times but under shady situations that I haven't felt confortable with, like a young woman (not from US) came to me, saw the forms, but once she stuttered the name of the company like she wasn't sure or what she would be doing, I obviously have done this for a while to know something might be wrong, her social security card looked very new and not signed by her, didn't want to take a chance.Lisa24 Aug 2015Can you give me some information about how an employee who will be working remotely in Texas can get the I-9 completed? In other states we have referred this to a notary.National Notary Association26 Aug 2015Hello. The following information regarding TX Notaries and I-9 forms is from the TX Secretary of State's web site: http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/faqs2300.shtml#np26 Can I complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on behalf of an employer? No. Although the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would allow a notary public to fill out Form I-9 on the behalf of an employer, Texas notaries public are not provided this authority under Texas law. Therefore, if an employer requests that you complete any portion of a Form I-9 in your capacity as a notary public, you should refuse. Iris 22 Sep 2015Very interesting and informative. Enjoyed reading and learning. Thank youRay29 Sep 2015Well lets see, if it is not a notary a notary stamp that is being used, that means you can charge what you like. I read you need a letter from the employee stating you can due there work for them with out a letter from the one who would like for you to do the workThomas DeVere Wolsey12 Oct 2015This should be a simple act, done once, much like a passport. I have written to California Assembly Members and to my Congressman to encourage them to streamline this process in order to facilitate legal employment and to permit notaries in CA to complete the I-9 on behalf of both parties to the transaction of filling out this form.John26 Oct 2015The information regarding California is wrong. If it was correct then every employer would have to have an immigrant consultant on staff. This form is required for ALL employees, including citizens. Homeland Security is very explicit about this.National Notary Association27 Oct 2015Hello John. The information regarding CA Notaries being restricted from completing I-9 forms was provided directly to the NNA by the CA Secretary of State's Notary Public Section last year. At this time, we have not been notified by the CA Secretary of State's office of any changes to this policy. If you would like to speak to the CA Secretary of State's Notary Public Section to get further clarification, you can contact them by phone to speak to a representative at (916) 653–3595.Kim B.02 Nov 2015Hello, I have done a few of these and have been charging a flat fee of $20 which doesn't seem to be really worth my time, but I don't want to over charge either. I am curious what other notaries charge for this. I live in an area where I drive at least 20 miles to a location. Thanks in advance for any input.Julie Salinas, PHR, SHRM-CP02 Nov 2015Hi John, yes, this doesn't make sense to me either! I'm a certified HR professional working as an HR Manager, and for my employer, I must complete I9 Forms and run the information thru the E-verify system for all new employees. I have been doing so for years as it is an HR function of the job. So now my understanding is one of these two scenarios: Scenario (1) I was able complete I9's before due to my job, but no longer can because now I'm a CA Notary and now must be an immigration specialist. You are correct, an employer does not need to have an immigration specialist on hand to complete I9 forms or E-Verify system. It’s a ‘due diligence’ process and is mandated on a Federal level, NOT State. So this does not make sense to me because now my employer will have to hire a replacement for me since I can no longer perform my HR Duties due to becoming a Notary. I’m willing to bet, the State means you can’t complete them for non-employers. Which brings me to scenario 2: Scenario (2) What the Secretary means is we cannot complete I9's in a representative way. This makes more sense. Meaning, I can do I9's for my current employer in the capacity of my job duties, but CANNOT do I9's for a company who is not my employer in a CA Notary or Non-notary position. They just need to hurry up and confirm this. I do not want to go to my employer and tell them I can no longer perform my job duties! (GASP, they won’t be happy!)Aruna Bisen04 Nov 2015The article was very useful for me n saved my time today.Steve H.03 Dec 2015I have a lot of I-9's come through my shop in CA which I have to politely refuse. Recently I suggested to a customer that the only alternative would be to do a copy certification by document custodian for his respective ID's. He agreed... and a few weeks later he told me that his company accepted it. I'm wondering if this a viable alternative?National Notary Association04 Dec 2015Hi Steve. The best course would be for the customer to contact the receiving agency and ask them what alternative would be acceptable. Notaries need to be careful not to provide improper advice or instructions to customers-it could be construed as unauthorized practice of law. Leave a Comment Required * Name * Email *(for verfication purposes only) Comment * Enter the text shown in this image *(text is case sensitive)All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.