Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I certify a copy of a birth certificate

No. California Notaries are authorized to certify copies only of power of attorney however a Notary may notarize an affidavit of a person requesting a certified copy of a birth or death certificate.

2. Does a document have to be signed in a Notary's presence?

It Depends. Documents requiring acknowledgments normally do not need to be signed in the Notary's presence. However, the signer must appear before the Notary at the time of notarization to acknowledge that he or she freely signed for the purposes stated in the document. An acknowledgment certificate indicates that the signer personally appeared before the Notary, was identified by the Notary and acknowledged to the Notary that the document was freely signed.

3. Can I notarize with Unacceptable ID Documents

If a document signer recently had a name change (i.e. marriage) and the document signer is unable to present reliable ID cards, can the notary accept the signers prior “before Marriage” ID cards as acceptable document (ID Cards)? NO

4. Can the signer be identified when the signer is unable to present reliable ID cards?

The signer may be identified on the oath (or affirmation) of one or two credible witness(es) Qualifications:

  • Every credible identifying witnesses must personally know the document signer.
  • If there is only one credible identifying witness vouching for the signer's identify the signer, the notary should personally know the witness and the witness should personally know the signer, except
  • If there are two (pair) credible identifying witnesses identified through identification document (ID Cards),
  • A credible identifying witness must not have an interest, or be named, in the document.
  • A credible identifying witness must know that the signer has no identification and that it would be impractical to obtain the necessary ID (Civil Code, Section 1185).

5. What are acceptable Identification Documents (ID Cards)?

Acceptable Identification (ID Cards) from which a Notary may identify a signer:

  • California driver’s license or non driver’s ID issued by the DMV
  • U.S. Passport
  • Foreign passport stamped by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Driver’s license or non driver’s ID issued by another U.S. state.
  • Driver’s license issued in Mexico or Canada
  • U.S. military ID that contain all required elements. The Common Access Card (CAC) California Notaries may not accept as identification for notarizations.