Notary Information

Posted: By Author Amador Solis

IDENTIFICATION –  What you need to bring to identify yourself to the Notary Public:  

When completing a certificate of acknowledgment or a jurat, a notary public is requiredto certify to the identity of the signer of the document. 

 Identity is established if the notary public is presented with 

satisfactory evidence of the signer’s identity. (Civil Code section 1185(a)) 

Satisfactory Evidence – “Satisfactory Evidence” means the absence of any information, 

evidence, or other circumstances which would lead a reasonable person to believe that the 

individual is not the individual he or she claims to be.

The identity of the signer can be established by the notary public’s reasonable reliance on the presentation of any one of the following documents as long as the 

identification document is current or has been issued within five years. (Civil Code section 

1185(b)(3) & (4)):  

An identification card or driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor vehicles; or a United States passport.

Other California-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 passport issued by a foreign government, provided that it has been stamped by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; A driver’s license issued by another state or by a Canadian or Mexican public agency authorized to issue driver’s licenses; 

An identification card issued by another state; A United States military identification card with the required photograph, description of the person, signature of the person, and an identifying number. (Some military identification 

cards do not contain all the required information.); 

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

An 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.

Geographic Jurisdiction:  A notary public can provide notarial services throughout the State of California. A notary public is not limited to providing services only in the county where the oath and bond are on file. secure web browsing In virtually all of the certificates the notary public is called on to complete, there will be a venue heading such as “State of California, County of ___________.” The county named in the heading in the notarial certificate is the county where the signer personally appeared before the notary public. (Government Code section 8200)

THE PURPOSE OF THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT IS:  The Notary asks the signer, “Do you acknowledge that this is your signature and that you understand and signed this document.? You know what you are signing.”

To notarize the document, the signer must: 

1. Signer must personally appear.

2. Signer must prove their identity with a government issued picture id.

3. Signer must acknowledge executing the document.

THE PURPOSE OF THE AFFIDAVIT OR JURAT IS:  The Notary asks the signer, “Do you solemnly swear, declare or affirm, that the contents of this document are known to you, and that the information is true, so help you God,  or whatever you believe in, or under the penalty of perjury?”

To notarize the document, the signer must:

1. Signer must personally appear

2. Signer must prove their identity with a government issued picture id.

3. Signer must sign the document in front of the Notary.

4. The oath must be administered and the Signer must acknowledge hearing the oath. 


The form most frequently completed by the notary public is the certificate of acknowledgment. The certificate of acknowledgment must be in the form set forth in Civil Code section 1189. In the certificate of acknowledgment, the notary public certifies: • That the signer personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated in the county indicated; • To the identity of the signer; and • That the signer acknowledged executing the document.

A notary public may complete a certificate of acknowledgment required in another state or jurisdiction of the United States on documents to be filed in that other state or jurisdiction, provided the form does not require the notary public to determine or certify that the signer holds a particular representative capacity or to make other determinations and certifications not allowed by California law. Any certificate of acknowledgment taken within this state shall be in the following form:

 A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.

State of California }

County of _______________ }
On ________________ before me, ____________________________, Notary Public, personally appeared _______________________________________________________________________________________,
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument. 
I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.
WITNESS my hand and official seal.
Notary Public Signature 


The second form most frequently completed by a notary public is the jurat. (Government Code section 8202) The jurat is identified by the wording “Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed)” contained in the form. In the jurat, the notary public certifies:  • That the signer personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated and in the county indicated; • That the signer signed the document in the presence of the notary public; • That the notary public administered the oath or affirmation*; and • To the identity of the signer. Any jurat taken within this state shall be in the following form:
                             USE THIS JURAT WORDING IN YOUR DOCUMENT

A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.
State of California ____________ }
County of ___________________ }
Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this _______ day of ____________, 20______, by _______________________________________________, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.
Notary Public Signature 

Notarization of Incomplete Documents :

A notary public may not notarize a document that is incomplete. 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)

Foreign Language: A notary public can notarize a signature on a document in a foreign language with which the notary public is not familiar, since a notary public’s function only relates to the signature and not the contents of the document. The notary public should be able to identify the type of document being notarized for entry in the notary public’s journal. If unable to identify the type of document, the notary public must make an entry to that effect in the journal (e.g., “a document in a foreign language”). The notary public should be mindful of the completeness of the document and must not notarize the signature on the document if the document appears to be incomplete. The notary public is responsible for completing the acknowledgment or jurat form. When notarizing a signature on a document, a notary public must be able to communicate with the customer in order for the signer either to swear to or affirm the contents of the affidavit or to acknowledge the execution of the document. An interpreter should not be used, as vital information could be lost in the translation. If a notary public is unable to communicate with a customer, the customer should be referred to a notary public who speaks the customer’s language.

Authentications: Apostille or Certification

Important Information for “Legalizing Documents”

In 1961 many nations joined together to create a simplified method of “legalizing” documents for universal recognition in each other’s countries. Members of the conference, referred to as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents (33 U.S.T 883), adopted a document referred to as an Apostille that would be recognized by all member nations.

Documents sent to member nations, completed with an Apostille at the state level, may be submitted directly to the member nation without further action.

Expansion of Authentication Services: The California Secretary of State’s Los Angeles office has expanded its authentication services to include the authentication of the signatures of California notaries public, in addition to county and state official’s signatures.

he California Secretary of State provides authentication of public official signatures on documents to be used outside the United States of America. The country of destination determines whether the authentication is an Apostille or Certification.

Apostilles and Certifications only certify to the authenticity of the signature of the official who signed the document, the capacity in which that official acted, and when appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which the document bears. The Apostille or Certification does not validate the contents of the document.

  • The California Secretary of State authenticates signatures only on documents issued in the State of California signed by a notary public or the following public officials and their deputies:
    • County Clerks or Recorders
    • Court Administrators of the Superior Court
    • Executive Clerks of the Superior Court
    • Officers whose authority is not limited to any particular county
    • Executive Officers of the Superior Court
    • Judges of the Superior Court
    • State Officials
  • Authentication requests can be submitted by mail to the Sacramento office. The processing time is typically eight to ten business days from the date the request is received in the Sacramento office.
  • When submitting a request for authentication by mail, please include the following items:
    • The original notarized and/or certified document(s). A photocopy is not acceptable.
    • A cover letter stating the country in which the document will be used.
    • A check or money order for the authentication fee of $20 per authentication certificate made payable to Secretary of State and payable in U.S. dollars.
    • A self-addressed envelope for the return mail. If you wish to use a mail tracking service, please provide a pre-paid air bill. If you do not use a prepaid service, our office will mail your document(s) by U.S. Postal Service regular mail at no charge.

Authentication requests can be presented in person to the Los Angeles Secretary of States office @ 300 S. Spring St., L.A., CA 90013 for processing between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). A $20 fee for each authentication certificate and an additional $6 special handling fee for each different public official’s signature to be authenticated is required. When presenting a request in person to either of our offices, no appointment is necessary. Customers are served on a “first come first serve” basis. Payments can be made by check, money order, or credit card (Visa or MasterCard).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *