August 17, 2016
Estimated Read Time: 3 Minutes
Section 2 of the Form I-9 can sometimes be difficult to complete because of the requirement for the employer to be physically present with the employee in order to complete it. In situations like remote hires, it may be impossible to have a member of your organization be physically present to verify the employee’s documents and fill out Section 2. Employers aren’t authorized to have remote employees fax or scan their documents into the office to be verified – exacerbating this issue.
According to the USCIS, the employer must be physically present to inspect the documents for authenticity. Fortunately for you, Section 2 of the Form I-9 can be completed by an authorized representative outside of your organization. However, the instructions within the Form I-9 don’t clearly indicate who can be an authorized user.
The answer is anybody. An organization may designate literally anyone to act as their authorized representative for the purpose of filling out Section 2. You are not required to have any formal contract or agreement with this individual either. Does that mean you should let the employee’s spouse act as the authorized representative? Well, no.
The person that you choose to designate as your authorized representative should be someone that you can trust to accurately fill out Section 2 and give a concerted effort to verify the authenticity of the documents that your employee provides them. It’s a good idea to provide this individual with clear instructions on how to complete Section 2 – outlining compliance considerations as well (e.g. don’t ask for or require specific documents from the list of authorized documents for Section 2).
The Form I-9 is tricky even beyond just figuring out who can be an authorized representative. So we created an e-book to help.
A notary public is often the first person that employers tend to think of when considering an authorized representative. Their availability makes them good candidates, but there are some important considerations to take into account before enlisting the aid of a notary.
When a Notary acts as an authorized user for Section 2 of the Form I-9, they are not doing so in their official capacity. As such, they are not permitted to use their seal to notarize the document. Because of this, not all notaries will be willing to act as an authorized representative.
It’s important for you as the employer to communicate to the notary that they can’t notarize the Form I-9 when delivering your instructions on how to fill out Section 2. They should fill out the form the exact same way that you would as the employer. That means no seal or additional attestation statement.