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FAQ / Can I notarize for a stranger with no identification?

Although identification laws vary by state, in most cases when a document signer is not personally known to the Notary and is not able to present reliable identification documents, that signer can be identified on the oath or affirmation of a credible identifying witness. In most states, the word of a credible identifying witness is satisfactory evidence of identity and equivalent to personal knowledge.

A credible identifying witness, often called simply a credible witness, is like a human ID card who identifies the document signer. The credible identifying witness must personally know the document signer and must also be personally known by the Notary. This establishes a chain of personal knowledge connecting the Notary with the signer.

For example, if a stranger without satisfactory identification requests a notarization, the Notary need not turn this person away if the Notary has a friend present who personally knows the individual. The friend could serve as a credible identifying witness.

By definition, a credible identifying witness is a believable person. Credible identifying witnesses should be honest, aware and impartial to the matter at hand. This means that the credible identifying witness should neither have a financial interest in a notarized document nor be named in it.

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