You’ll need to bring identification, document(s) and money.
A notary public is required to certify to the identity of the signer with one of three satisfactory evidence options.
(A) - Paper Identification - Often Used
Identity of the signer can be established by any one of the following documents, if the identification document is current – or – has been issued within five years.:
- ID card or driver’s license issued in the U.S. or Canada
- United States passport – or – foreign passport stamped by the U.S.
- U.S. military dependent identification card
- Inmate identification card issued by the Department of Corrections, for signers in custody
- Employee identification card issued by an agency or office of the State of California, or an agency or office of a city, county, or city and county in California.
Note: The notary public must include in his or her journal the type of identifying document, the governmental agency issuing the document, the serial or identifying number of the document, and the date of issue or expiration of the document that was used to establish the identity of the signer. (Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(D))
(B) - Oaths of Two Credible Witnesses - Sometimes Used
The identity of the signer can be established by the oaths of two credible witnesses whom the notary public does not personally know. (Civil Code section 1185(b)(2)) The notary public first must establish the identities of the two credible witnesses by the presentation of paper identification documents as listed above. 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 set forth above. (Civil Code sections 1185(b)(2) and 1185(b)(1)(A)(i)-(v))
Note: The credible witnesses must sign the notary public’s journal and the notary public must indicate in his or her journal the type of identifying documents, the identifying numbers of the documents, and the dates of issuance or expiration of the documents presented by the witnesses to establish their identities. (Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(E))
(C) - Oath of a Single Credible Witness - Rarely Used
The identity of the signer can be established by the oath of a single credible witness whom the notary public personally knows. (Civil Code section 1185(b)(1)) The notary public must establish the identity of the credible witness by the presentation of paper identification documents as set forth above. Under oath, the credible witness must swear or affirm that each of the following is true (Civil Code section 1185(b)(1)(A)(i)-(v)): 1. The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document; 2. The credible witness personally knows the signer; 3. 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; 4. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and 5. The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.
Note: The single credible witness must sign the notary public’s journal or the notary public must indicate in his or her journal the type of identifying document, the identifying number of the document, and the date of issuance or expiration of the document presented by the witness to establish the identity of the witness. (Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(D))
A notary public may not notarize incomplete documents.
If presented with a document for notarization, which the notary public knows from his or her experience to be incomplete or is without doubt on its face incomplete, the notary public must refuse to notarize the document. (Government Code section 8205)