What is the I-9 Form?
The I-9 form is a multi-page document generated by the office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for the Department of Homeland Security used for the purpose of verifying the employment eligibility of every new employee who accepts a job in the United States as of November 6th, 1986. This form must be completed by the employer as of the first day of employment for new employees. This requirement is without exception; it includes even individuals working in a temporary capacity for only a few days. It also includes non-citizen residents and foreign visitors with a temporary work visa. In Section 1 of the I-9, employees are asked to fill out the top portion of the I-9 form, which contains demographical information and asks employees to state their U.S. residency status and whether they are a citizens, non-citizens, lawful permanent residents, or aliens authorized to work. In Section 2 of the I-9, employers are then asked to obtain proof of identity and proof of authorization to work from the employee.
Do I-9 Forms Require Notarization?
Many notaries receive requests from an employer to notarize or verify Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9) forms. The completion of an I-9 form for each employee is mandated for every employer or agricultural recruiter or referrer-for-a-fee hirer. (An agricultural referrer is any farm labor contractor or agricultural employer or association.) All such employers and recruiters are subject to periodic ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) inspections to assure that accurately completed I-9 forms are on file for every employee; violators are subject to fines and administrative sanctions. Therefore, the proper completion and execution of the I-9 form is of extreme importance.
The I-9 form does not contain a notarial certificate and therefore does not require notarization. The wording on the I-9 form and the identification requirements confuses some individuals into thinking that the form must be notarized. Employees are asked to “attest under penalty of perjury…” that their statements and documentation are true. Rather than requiring the use of a third party, such as a notary, the form itself indicates to the employee that Federal law provides for fines and imprisonment for false statements. Additionally, the employer must examine identification documents and work authorization documents from the employee to determine his or her eligibility to work in the United States. There are various documents in three separate lists from which the employee can choose to submit to verify identity and employment eligibility.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Office permits individuals assigned by the employer to fill out this identification/work eligibility portion of the I-9, which is why many employees are directed to have their I-9 form “notarized by a Notary.” A notary has the option to decline to serve in this capacity if he or she feels uncomfortable or is unable to verify if his governing body prohibits notaries from performing such an action.
Most importantly, since the I-9 form does not require notarization, the notary stamp and seal will never be placed on the I-9 form under any circumstance. The I-9 form is not submitted to any office. It is kept on file with the employer for three years after its initial completion or for one year after employment terminates, whichever is longer. This form must be produced if inspectors or investigators from DHS visit the place of employment and ask to see it.
CommuniMatics Mobile Notary Services will happily help you with your I-9 forms whenever needed. Since the identifying documents must be inspected by the person serving as the Authorized Representative for the employer, I-9 identification verification cannot be performed remotely.
Taken from the American Association of Notaries newsletter: