In the State of California there are very specific laws pertaining to acceptable forms of identification when performing notary service. As a mobile notary, this information is very valuable and ensures a smooth transaction for all parties.

Acceptable Identification for Notarization

The following are acceptable forms of identification when performing notary services in California.

  • California driver’s license or non-driver ID issued by the California Department of motor vehicles
  • Driver’s license issued by another state
  • State-issued non-driver identification card
  • U.S. military identification card
  • Resident alien identification card (green card)
  • U.S. passport
  • ID card issued by a federally recognized tribal governments
  • California Department of corrections and rehabilitation CDCR identification card for an inmate in custody in an institution in the state of California correctional system
  • Any form of ID issued by sheriff’s department or a prisoner in custody in the jail or local destination facility

Other Acceptable ID’s for Acknowledgment or Jurat

A notary may identify a signer of an acknowledgement or jurat with the following forms of written identification provided they are current or issued in the past five years and contain a photograph signature serial or identifying number and physical description of the bearer California Civil Code section 1185.

  • Valid consular identification document issued by a consulate from the applicants country of citizenship or valid passport from the applicants country of citizenship
  • Driver’s license or non-drivers ID issued by another US state
  • Driver’s license issued by Mexico or Canada
  • Employee ID card issued by an agency or office of the state of California or any city county or city and county within the state
  • U.S. military ID that contains all required elements. The common access card (CAC) is a replacement ID for certain military personnel that does not contain the signature of the bearer on either the front or the back of the card. Therefore, under current law California notaries may not accept the CAC as identification for notarizations
  • ID card issued by a federally recognized tribal governments

Unacceptable Identification for Notarization

The following are unacceptable forms of identification when performing notary service.

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • School identification cards
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Costco Cards
  • When performing a loan signing, an expired identification card or driver’s license is not accepted.
  • Common Access Card (CAC). As mentioned above, because the CAC doesn’t have the bearer’s signature on either the front or the back of the card, it can’t be used for notarizations.

Other Important Elements for Identification

It is very important to thoroughly check the photo on the ID. Also look for any discrepancies such misspelled words, numbers or information placed in the wrong places on the ID card. When receiving a state-issued identification or state-issued driver’s license from another state it is very important to thoroughly scan the ID. Inexperienced Notaries are frequently not familiar with ID’s from other states and therefore might not be able to detect a fraudulent ID and signer.

A notary should be familiar with the acceptable and non-acceptable forms of identification in order to prevent any fraudulent notary activity. Also, knowing what types of identification are acceptable before the appointment is set can streamline the notary process and make everything run smoothly for all parties involved.