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Acceptable ID

Notarization requires identifying the signer using satisfactory evidence. What is meant by 'satisfactory evidence'? The State of Ohio has a list of what documents may be used by the notary to identify the signer. Keep in in mind that a Ohio Notary Public has the right to ask for more than one identifying ID (necessary and should be copied and provided at the time of meeting).

  • My driver's license is expired! What should I do?
    An expired license is okay (not recommended) as long as the expiration is no older than 5 years. If older than 5 years and a day, you'll need to find another form of ID.
  • Can I use a copy of our marriage license for you to identify me with?
    No, only the documents that you see listed above.
  • My name on my ID doesn't match the documents that I need to have notarized. Can I still sign?
    Yes, but not with your ID. We'd need 2 credible witnesses to confirm your identification.

Acceptable Documents:

  • OH Driver's License or OH State ID Card

  • United States Passport or Passport Card

  • U.S. Military Identification Card

  • Resident Alien Identification Card (Green Card)

All identifying documents must contain:

  • Photograph

  • Signature

  • Document Serial Numbers

  • Visible Physical Descriptions & Dates

Unacceptable forms of identification:

  • Birth Certificates

  • Social Security Cards

  • Credit/Debit Cards

If you are unable to obtain an acceptable form of identification, you may be able to verify your identify to the notary public through a credible witness. A credible witness is a person who knows the signer of the document and can vouch for his or her identity. It’s important to note that not all states allow the use of credible witness to verify a signer’s identify.

But a signer can’t use a credible witness for the sake of convenience. If a signer accidentally left his or her driver’s license at home, for instance, they can’t let a friend or family member vouch for their identify. The only time when a credible witness is allowed is when the signer has no form of acceptable identification, and the signer can not reasonably obtain an acceptable form of identification.

Credible Witnesses are required to sign an affidavit which states:
  • The signer of the document is known to the credible witness.

  • The credible witness believes the signer of the document does not possess an acceptable form of identification.

  • The credible witness believes the signer of the document is reasonably unable to obtain an acceptable form of identification.

  • The credible witness has no financial interest or incentive for the document’s execution.

Checking and verifying the signer’s identify is critical step in performing a notarial service. Some people may view it as a nuisance, but it’s performed to safeguard against fraud. So the next time you need a document notarized, remember to bring one of the accepted forms of identification mentioned above.

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