As a Notary Public, the most important thing we do is properly identify a signer and reduce fraud. Getting a notarized document means that a signature is legitimate and becomes a legal document. A notary must first identify the signer to be the person whose name is signed to the document. The identification can be made through personal knowledge or appropriate credentials, such as a driver’s license.
Identification Documents & Characteristics
Commonly accepted ID’s include Passports, Driver’s Licenses, State Issued ID cards, Military ID’s. As a rule, an acceptable ID must be:
Current — None expired, and complete lamination intact.
Government Issued — Not an employee badge, university or college ID or credit cards with a photo.
Photo ID — An acceptable ID requires a photo.
Physical Description — the ID would say your height, eye color (pay grade and rank if military).
Identification Number — the ID should have a number such as A58362D.
Expiration Date — the ID will have an expiration date and sometimes issuance date as well somewhere.
Signature — the signature on the ID is important because we will need to compare that to the one on the document and our journal.
THE NAME ON THE ID
Different states have different rules for what the name on the ID should say relative to the name on the document. Some states do not require the names to match. Others require that the Notary be reasonably sure that the person in the ID and the person on the document are the same person. The name on the document’s signature must be provable to the name on the ID, otherwise it would be questionable and risky to notarize that signature.
When you seek a Notary act, you must be able to prove you are the signer through proper identification. We then compare the name on the ID to the name on the document. If the name on the document is not provable based on the ID that you have provided, we must decline the notarization, especially if it is for a Deed. The Notary will record that information in their Notary journal and have you sign, stating a meeting had taken place. Here is a summary of the ID and acknowledgment notarization process.
- Provide proper Identification to Notary (Passports, Driver’s Licenses, State Issued ID cards, Military ID)
- Compare the name in the document to the name on the ID. Make sure the name on the document is provable based on the ID.
- Notary will record ID information in Notary’s journal
- Signer(s) sign the Notary’s journal and the document(s)
- Make sure the signature in the journal, document and ID all match.
- Fill out the certificate, sign and seal.
Examples of provability in ID
ID says John Smith — document says John W Smith…. name is NOT provable.
ID says John W Smith — document says John W Smith… name is provable
ID says John William Smith — document says John W Smith… name is provable based on the ID.