Just what is acceptable ID?
Notarization requires identifying the signer using satisfactory evidence. What is meant by ‘satisfactory evidence’? The state of California has a list of what documents may be used by the notary to identify the signer. Keep in mind that a California Notary Public has the right to ask for more than one identifying ID. Acceptable documents are:
- CA Driver’s License or CA ID card
- United States passport or passport card
- Any other USA state-issued Driver’s License or ID card
- Canadian Driver’s License
- Mexican Driver’s License
- A foreign passport, stamped by USCIS – this means the person and passport has gone through Customs
- Military ID card, as long as the card shows a photo, and has a physical description, signature and a serial number. However, the CAC (Common Access Card) may NOT be used due to not containing the bearer’s signature.
- Employee ID card issued by the State of CA, or any California City or County. (Federal ID cards may NOT be used)
- In addition to the above, a thumbprint is added to the Notary’s official journal of notarial acts.
In short, all identifying documents must contain: (except passports)
- Physical Description
- Document Serial Number
Documents that can NOT be used:
- Driver’s licenses from countries other than Canada or Mexico
- Federal employee card of any kind
- Social Security Cards
- Credit Cards
- Marriage Licences
- Temporary Driver’s Licenses
What to do if you don’t have any of the documents listed?
A notarization can be performed with 2 credible identifying witnesses (human ID’s!).
Find two friends (not acquaintances!) with valid ID, that are impartial to the transaction, wouldn’t benefit in any way, and will swear/affirm verbally that they are vouching for your identity. All three of you will need to sign the notary’s official journal of notarial acts.
Common Q & A’s
Q: My driver’s license is expired! What should I do?
A: An expired document is okay (but not recommended!) as long as the expiration is no older than 5 years. If older than 5 years and a day, you’ll need to find other ID.
Q: Can I use a copy of our marriage license for you to identify me with?
A: No, only the documents you see above.
Q: My name on my ID doesn’t match the document I need notarized. Can I still sign?
A: Yes, but not with your ID. We’d need 2 of your friends to act as human IDs. See above explanation.