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Identification Is Required!

Each person who is having a signature notarized is required to show a valid government-issued ID, or an ID that has been issued within the past 5 years [Civil Code Section 118(c)(3)&(4)].


Identification (ID) must have a photograph, physical description and signature of the person, as well as an identifying number.

IMPORTANT! The Signer MUST speak English!
It is unlawful in California to use a translator during the notarization process.


Acceptable Forms of Identification Include:


  • A driver's license or identification card issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles


  • A U.S. passport issued by the State Department of the United States


  • Other state-approved identification card consisting of any one of the following, provided that it also contains a photograph, description of the person, signature of the person, and an identifying number:

    • A military identification card issued by any branch United Stated armed forces (Please note we cannot use the new Military IDs with the chip, since they do not have a visible signature or physical description)

    • A passport issued by a foreign government, provided that it has been stamped by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service

    • A driver's license issued by another state or by a Canadian or Mexican public agency authorized to issue a driver's license

    • An identification card issued by another state

    • An inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections, if the inmate is in custody

What If the Signer Does Not Have a Valid ID?



In the case where the document signer lacks proper identification, the State of California allows the use of two (2) "Credible Identifying Witnesses" who personally know the signer and can present proof of their own ID (driver’s license / passport / military ID).


A credible witness is an individual who personally knows the signer, will present valid identification, and then swear upon an oath that they can vouch for the signer’s identity to the Notary.

The credible witnesses cannot be named in the document and cannot have financial interest in the document. Both credible witnesses must have proper identification and must swear, as part of their oath, that they do not have a financial interest in, nor are parties to, the underlying transaction.


Choose very neutral parties as witnesses! Friends, neighbors or work buds are best. Depending upon the nature of the transaction, a close family member may not qualify to be a credible identifying witness.

A Credible Identifying Witness must know the signer well enough to take an oath to swear or affirm five (5) facts to the Notary:

  1. The signer is named in the document

  2. The credible witness personally knows the signer

  3. The signer doesn’t possess a qualifying identification document

  4. The signer’s circumstances make it difficult or impossible to obtain a qualifying identification document

  5. The credible witness is not named in nor are financially interested in the document

California Notaries are required by Government Code 8206(a)(2)(E) to record the following in the journal entry for a single credible witness:

  1. The signature of the credible witness or the type of identification presented by the witness

  2. If identification is presented, the type of ID, the serial or identifying number on the ID and the ID issuance or expiration date


However, the Secretary of State urges as a best practice that both the signature and identification information be obtained in the journal entry for a single credible witness.


For two (2) credible witnesses, I will record the following details in my journal:


  1. The signature of each credible witness

  2. The type of written identification presented for each credible witness.

  3. The serial or identifying number on each credible witness’ written identification.

  4. The issuance or expiration date on each credible witness’ written identification.

NOTE: One (1) Credible Witness may be used to identify the signer if the witness is personally known by both the Notary and the signer.

Proper identification is required to have documents notarized in San Diego

we provide mobile notary services for the signing of affidavits, advance medical directive, background check forms, bill of sale, spousal consent, certified loan signing agent, contracts, dmv documentation, durable power of attorney, escrow package signing, general notary signing, grant deeds, immigration documents, insurance policies, loan documents, quit claim deeds, power of attorney, reverse mortgage document, parental consent to travel, law enforcement application, student housing document, traffic school test, investment documents, estoppel certificates, promissory notes, wills and living trusts

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