Restrictions on California Notaries Completing Form I-9

18:09 14 August in News Updates

Restrictions on California Notaries Completing Form I-9

U.S. employers are required by law to verify the identity and employment authorization of each individual they hire after November 6, 1986 by completing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

The employee must complete Section 1 of Form I-9 attesting that he or she is a U.S. citizen or national, a lawful permanent resident, or an alien authorized to work in the United States. The employee must present documentation to the employer establishing identity and employment authorization by choosing from the documents listed on the “Lists of Acceptable Documents.”

The employer is obligated, after physically examining the documents presented by the employee, to complete Sections 2 or 3, as applicable, of Form I-9. Employers may designate an authorized representative to complete Sections 2 or 3 by physically examining evidence of identity and employment authorization. Notaries are often selected to act as the employer’s authorized representative. The need often arises in the context of remote employees when the HR person or internal employee responsible for completing I-9s is not located in the area in which the new employee will work.

Employers should be aware that the State of California imposes special restrictions on notaries who complete Form I-9. 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 rationale for this restriction is that Form I-9 is considered to be an immigration form and California has separate requirements of notaries who complete what are considered “immigration forms”.

Employers that hire in California and use the services of a notary public to complete Form I-9 must ensure that the notary designated as their authorized representative is registered as an immigration consultant with the California Secretary of State.

Larrabee Albi Coker LLP can assist employers with the unique I-9 compliance challenges presented by remote employees, including providing detailed notary instructions to ensure the accurate completion of Form I-9.

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