When the Signer does not have valid Identification

In California, every notarial act requires a valid Identification from the signer. If the signer does not have satisfactory evidence of identification, there are two alternatives that a notary public can proceed with the notarization.

  • Oath of a Single Credible Witness – The identity of the signer can be established by the oath of a single credible witness personally known by the notary public. The credible witness must present identification documents as required by the state law. Under oath, the credible witness must swear or affirm each of the following is true:

    • The signer of the document is the person appeared in front of the notary and the person named in the document;

    • The credible witness personally knows the signer;

    • The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;

    • The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity;

    • The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.

  • Oaths of Two Credible Witnesses – The identity of the signer can be established by the oaths of two credible witnesses whom the notary public does not personally know. The notary public first must establish the identities of the two credible witnesses by the presentation of paper identification documents as required by the State law. Under oath, the credible witnesses must swear or affirm under penalty of perjury to each of the things sworn to or affirmed by a single credible witness, as stated above.

For a summary of Signer Identification required by the State law, refer to this link here, or checkout the California Notary Handbook published by the California Secretary of State.

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