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Notary Notes

USCIS Issues New Form I-9

The Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9. The new form, released November 14, 2016, has a revision date of 11/14/2016 N in the lower left corner.

Employers may continue using the old Form I-9 with a revision date of "03/08/2013 N" through January 21, 2017. By January 22, 2017, employers must use only the new version. Employers should continue to follow existing storage and retention rules for all of their previously completed Forms I-9. A revised version of the "Handbook for Employers" (M-274) will be avaiable in January 2017.

The revised Form I-9 provided in several formats, including one that is easier to fill in on a computer. Enhancements include drop-down lists and calendars for filling in dates, on-screen instructions for each field, easy access to the full instructions, and an option to clear the form and start over. A quick response (QR) code is automatically generated when the form is printed, which can be read by most QR readers.

Among other changes in the new version:
  • Section 1 asks for "other last names used" rather than "other names used," and streamlines certification for certain foreign nationals.
  • The ability to enter multiple preparers and translators.
  • A dedicated area for including additional information rather than having to add it in the margins.
  • A supplemental page for the preparer/translator.
  • The instructions have been separated from the form, in line with other USCIS forms, and include specific instructions for completing each field.
Employers may obtain the new Form I-9 by visiting I-9 Central at www.uscis.gov/I-9Central or the USCIS at www.uscis.gov/i-9.

For Notaries:

Remember, Form I-9 does not require notarization. You may act as an employer's agent to examine an employee's credentials and sign the form but you are not acting as a notary in performing this service.

If you are asked to complete Section 2 on behalf of an employer, you should not notarize the document, place your notary seal or indicate that you are a notary, since no notarial act is required. There is no notarial wording on the I-9 and the instructions on the form do not require the verifier to be a notary.

Some employers attach additional instructions or forms to the I-9, or verbally instruct the employee to take the paperwork to a notary to have Form I-9 notarized.

Don't risk a reprimand or sanction from the Department of State. Politely explain that since no notarial act is required, you cannot act as a notary in this situation.

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