Can a notary verify an I-9 form?

Officially titled Employment Eligibility Verification, the I-9 is a mandatory form used by all employers in the U.S. to verify the identity and employment authorization of their new hires. This requirement stems from the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), helping businesses avoid penalties for knowingly employing ineligible workers.

The form currently has two sections:

  • Section 1: it’s filled by the employees, where they attest to their U.S. citizenship or alien status and provide an acceptable document that supports their claim;
  • Section 2: filled by the employer or authorized representative, where they verify the employee’s identity and employment authorization by carefully examining the presented documents and recording the information.

While the I-9 form’s wording might suggest a need for notarization, it’s crucial to remember that no notarization is required. Attempting to notarize an I-9 form can even put a notary public at risk of losing their position if done illegally.

In this case, can a notary verify an I-9 form? This is what you’ll learn in this article we prepared just for you!

Can a notary verify an I-9 form?

Above, we established that I-9 forms don’t require notarization. However, the question of what constitutes an “authorized representative” might pop up. This role, crucial for situations where employer-employee in-person meetings are impossible (usually due to schedules not aligning), allows designated individuals to fill the form’s Section 2 out for them.

Considering how notaries are experts at dealing with documents, properly identifying people, and are considered to be trustworthy, they are usually among the top contenders for this task.

Can a Notary Translate a Birth Certificate

All in all, yes, notaries can verify an I-9 form and even complete all the required information in Section 2. However, it’s important to take note of two details:

  • Notaries may refuse the service. As filling out the I-9 form’s Section 2 is not a notarial service, the notary public has the right to refuse a service, which only happens when the document is incomplete, a signer is absent, there might be potential coercion, there are inconsistencies in presented documents, and so on;
  • In some states, notaries are prohibited from completing I-9 forms as an authorized representative. It’s always good to double-check your state’s laws regarding I-9 forms before agreeing to the service.

Dos and don’ts of being an authorized representative as a notary public

Now that you know that notaries can indeed verify I-9 forms as authorized representatives, it’s essential to avoid common pitfalls.

Do:

  • Witness the employee completing Section 1: ensure they understand the instructions and answer any questions they might have;
  • Review for completeness: check for missing or wrongly entered information, and mark “N/A” where appropriate;
  • Carefully examine documents: verify they appear reasonably genuine and match the information on the form. Also, ensure they’re acceptable documents as per the USCIS guidelines for list A, B, and C documents;
  • Photocopy documents for future reference: maintain secure record-keeping copies, notarizing them if needed.

Having talked a bit about the dos, let’s see some do NOTs:

  • Accept photocopied documents: ensure you’re dealing with their original documents from the start;
  • Accept questionable documents: if authenticity is uncertain, request alternative documentation from the employee;
  • Request unnecessary documents: stick to the minimum required by the USCIS guidelines, as asking for more might constitute an unfair employment practice;
  • Affix your signature as a notary: in this case, your true capacity is an “authorized representative,” not a “notary public.” Affixing your notary seal could lead to cases where you’re notarizing yourself, which is a potentially career-ending mistake for a notary public;
  • Complete Section 1 for the employee: let them fill it out themselves in their own handwriting;
  • Provide legal advice: if unsure about specific documents or procedures, advise the employee to consult an immigration attorney.

Remember, accurate and compliant I-9 verification is crucial for employers. By following these do’s and don’ts, notaries public acting as authorized representatives can help ensure a smooth onboarding process, avoid potential legal issues, and protect their careers.

Can a notary verify an I-9 form? Conclusion

As seen throughout this article, while the I-9 itself does not require notarization, the expertise of a notary in document verification and identification is invaluable in completing Section 2 accurately, which explains why they’re a top choice for taking on the role of an authorized representative. However, it’s vital to tread carefully, following the do’s and don’ts to avoid potential pitfalls that might hurt your career.

Photograph of Mobile Notary Orlando's logo as a stamp.

Can a notary verify an I-9 form?

We at Mobile Notary Orlando stand ready to assist those seeking reliable notarization services in Orlando. Our certified notaries are equipped to handle a variety of notarial needs. With a commitment to professionalism and accuracy, we ensure that your documents are not only legally sound but also processed with great efficiency. 

If you’re anywhere near Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Brevard counties, our mobile services bring notarization to your doorstep, anytime and anywhere. Trust Mobile Notary Orlando for all your notarization requirements. Contact us now and let us simplify your notarial journey!

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