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Notary Bulletin

The Truth About Offering I-9 Services With Your Notary Business

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Updated 6-13-19. With the growth of remote employees working away from the office, many Notaries are being approached to perform I-9 verifications for their employers. So the question has come up: is this a viable way for mobile Notaries to make extra money?

Yes and no.

The Notary Bulletin spoke with several Notaries who offer I-9 services. Their conclusion is that I-9 verifications are not likely to generate a lot of income, but they agreed that there was value in offering it as an additional service to their clients.

Every one of America’s 146 million-strong workforce had to fill out an I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form before starting their jobs. The employee completes the top portion of the form while a representative of the employer — typically someone in Human Resources — completes the bottom part, verifying the employee’s identity.

While this is not a notarial act (see I-9 Forms: What Notaries Need To Know), companies often instruct remote employees to go to a Notary to act as the employer’s representative.

Finding I-9 Work: Is It There, And How Can I Find It?

There is work out there. Employers are subject to hefty fines — ranging from $110 to $1,100 per instance — for compliance errors on I-9 forms, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As a result, companies actually require their remote employees to go to a Notary to complete their I-9s, based on their expertise at verifying forms of ID.

“As Notaries, we already have the skill set for checking IDs,” says Colorado Notary and owner of A Dependable Notary, David Harper, who lists I-9 forms as one of his many service offerings on his company website.

Despite having performed only a handful of verifications, Harper familiarized himself with the form and is comfortable offering the service.

He advises those pursuing more I-9 work to approach the HR departments of companies likely to hire remote employees, such as Internet or tech companies, for whom you can become their primary “go-to” I-9 verification specialist and earn repeat business.

I-9 verifications supply South Carolina Notary Sonita Leak with steady business, due in part to her advertising efforts and knowledge of SEO. Leak updates her website and social media platforms almost daily to reflect her assignments; therefore, a Google search of “Notary” and “I-9 verification” is more likely to yield Leak’s Google+ page or other Internet platforms, making it easy for prospective clients to reach her.

But while Leak finds work in her more rural coverage area, other Notaries have struggled in their attempts to market I-9 services.

“I got on the I-9 bandwagon a few years back, and have done a total of five,” said Virginia Notary John Cole in a recent NNA LinkedIn discussion thread. While Cole offers other non-notarial services, such as wedding officiating, I-9 verification has had little impact on his bottom line. “I did a lot of marketing, but the business just isn't there. Most companies do their own I-9 processing.”

Florida Notary Teresa Burrell agrees that marketing I-9 services is challenging, and advises Notaries who perform them to list the service on their online Notary profiles.

The California Restriction

The California Secretary of State’s office considers Form I-9 to be an immigration form. Consequently, California Notaries have been told by the Secretary of State's office that they may not complete an I-9, even in a non-notarial capacity, unless they are qualified and bonded as immigration consultants under the Business and Professions Code.

Other Challenges With I-9 Forms

Despite the fact that notarization is not required on the I-9 form, Notaries often are asked to “notarize” the forms and include their seal impression — which is not allowed. Your answer to this request should always be no, followed with a clear explanation of what a Notary can and cannot do when it comes to I-9s. 

For example, in Texas, Notaries may not notarize I-9 forms. However, a Texas Notary who is an employee of a business may assist in filling out an I-9 form, but cannot do so in the employee's official capacity as a Notary Public and the employee cannot affix a Notary seal on the document.  

Both Leak and Burrell received multiple requests from the same nationwide technology company to notarize their I-9 forms.

“I offered to sign it, cross out the title ‘Notary Public’ and replace it with ‘Authorized Representative,’ and not place my seal,” said Burrell, “but they insisted that the seal is required.” The company had even created a separate form to be filled out and notarized.

The best response a Notary can have in this kind of situation is to be familiar with the I-9 form, knowledgeable of their own state laws, and refuse to act outside of their notarial role. Burrell went a step further and contacted the issuing company, who later modified their form to no longer require notarization.

Having an understanding of the I-9 form is a good practice for all Notaries. For some Notaries, offering I-9 verifications is a way to extend their non-notarial service offerings, provide added value to their clients, and generate extra income. Others prefer to focus on different offerings. As there is no law stating you have to perform them, the choice is ultimately yours.

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.


Add your comment

Tonie L Boaman ~ Dash Notary

04 Sep 2014

I do a few hundred of the i9 forms every year in Texas and enjoy meeting the employee's and talking with the company representative -- One of the things that is hard: Having to constantly educate the HR or the appropriate rep at the company on how to use #NotaryPublic as a representative of the company -- and we are NOT ALLOWED to "stamp" anything. More than once I have to forward the email from the Texas SoS's office with those direct instructions before the company/attorney's will accept my training of the issue.

Edward J. Cooper

08 Sep 2014

You discuss only California law regarding I -9 forms. I'm in Illinois

Sonita Leak

08 Sep 2014

Yes, I have had companies that stated that they wanted the information "stamped". That's a NO NO. Thank you Kelle for all of your hard work on your articles!

Beth Cornett

08 Sep 2014

26.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

FrancisJ. Scanlon

08 Sep 2014

N3 emails I-9 signings but only pay $20. Many time not worth the trouble!


16 Sep 2014

I'm a notary in NYC, NY and I just had a request to sign I-9 as a "Notary" not authorized agent, as well as company's letter stating me as NOTARY not authorized agent. I contacted the company and explained to them that word Notary needs to be eliminated and it should read Authorized Agent - they refused with reference to their legal department. I did not sign anything.

Dina Borges

17 Sep 2014

I am the office manager and the one in charges of completing the I-9's for new employees, so since I am also a notary I am not able to sign the I-9 as the office manager? I am in California.

21 Nov 2016

OK this area bugged me Originally notaries where selected by USCIS as an acceptable alternative to employers authorized representatives in cases where employees were out of the companies home state. Believed USCIS used notaries because of their expertise in ID and documentation. but is is not part of Notaries duty outlined by their Sec of State. TX Sec of State states state 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. I talked with TX sec of state conclusion The only time a TX can notary complete an I9 if they are receiving compensation as an employee and included in their job description their function includes to act as authorized representative. USCIS had has no authority to say notaries can complete these employers can use Notaries to complete these forms this authorization can only can be granted by each individual Sec of State. And it is not regarded a notary duty by any state. While many notaries feel it is ok to complete these forms as authorized representative, keep in mind they are using the Notary Office to hire you. Not an area or orginisations like NNA needs to get into. JMHO

Teresa Wash

06 Feb 2018

What about Mississippi? What is the law for an I-9

National Notary Association

07 Feb 2018

Hello. You cancontact the MS Secretary of State's Business Services division at (601) 359-1633 with any questions about Notaries performing I-9 services in MIssissippi. Also, USCIS will be holding online webinars on Feb. 8, March 8 and April 18 for Notaries with questions about I-9s. For information about how to participate, see here:

06 Mar 2020

I live in the state of Florida. What would the restrictions be here for I-9's?

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2020

Hello. Please see here for more information about working with I-9 forms:


01 Jun 2020

N3 notary They pay$20 for I-9 form and for notary medical doc , they only give you one job by day an d some of the day they want you drive 90 minutes away and they want to pay you only$20 . If you refuse go to the appointment they tell you ( you are terminated)

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