I became aware of Series I bonds back in (specifically their high interest rates), and tried to open a TreasuryDirect account to purchase some. Unfortunately I was unable to convince the treasury that I am me online, so I had to complete a FS Form 5444 to verify that my account was actually being opened by me.
Back then, the form stipulated that only financial institutions could validate the form. I did some research at the time (I Googled it), and it seemed like it was really hard to get this validation from major financial instituations. So, I just gave up at the time.
Three months later in , I looked into opening a TreasuryDirect account again. I found a post on an investing forum that claimed that the Treasury was now accepting notary certifications. I checked FS Form FS5444 again, and the form had been updated to a revision. The form still required a bank validation, so I had some doubts about the forum post from a random stranger, but I went ahead and got the form notarized and mailed it to the Treasury . Yesterday, I checked the TreasuryDirect website again and my account was unlocked; hurray!
While writing this article, I checked again and the form has been revised as of . The form finally officially clarifies that notaries can certify the form, so it should be easier for everyone to be able to open a TreasuryDirect bond.
-  Fun fact, I got overcharged to get my form notarized. Washington law says that the maximum fee for witnessing a signature is $10.00, but I got charged $15.00. I'll complain to Washington state eventually. Maybe.