Do I have to sign my document in front of the notary?
The answer is “no” if the document requires the notary to complete a certificate of acknowledgment. The notary is actually documenting that the signers personally appeared, proved their identity, and acknowledged signing the document (which could have been done ahead of time OR in front of the notary.)
The answer is “yes” if the document requires the notary to complete a “jurat.” The jurat is identified by the wording “Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me” contained in the form. The signers must personally appear, prove their identity, and subscribe (sign) the document before the notary as well as orally repeat the “sworn to” language from the document.
How do I prove my identity to the notary?
Any of the following documents (current or issued within five years) is acceptable:
- California DMV driver’s license or identification card
- 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:
- 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 U.S. military identification card with the required photograph, description of the person, signature of the person, and an identifying number
- 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