The notarial services (except for copy certification) listed below all have one thing in common. They require positive identification.
Please make sure that, if witnesses are required, that they are there at the scheduled appointment time. The notary will wait for 15 minutes at no charge. See "Time" to the right for waiting time longer than 15 minutes.
The notary must verify that the person that is before them is who they say they are. To that end, there is a specific list of identification methods that can be used (note: this list is from the State of Florida, other states may have different requirements). The following identification methods may be used:
- A Florida identification card or driver license issued by the public agency authorized to issue driver licenses;
- a passport issued by the Department of State of the United States;
- a passport issued by a foreign government if the document is stamped by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services;
- a driver license or an identification card issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver licenses in a state other than Florida, a territory of the United States, or Canada or Mexico;
- an identification card issued by any branch of the armed forces of the United States;
- a veteran health identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs;
- an inmate identification card issued on or after January 1, 1991, by the Florida Department of Corrections for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
- an inmate identification card issued by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons, for an inmate who is in the custody of the department;
- a sworn, written statement from a sworn law enforcement officer that the forms of identification for an inmate in an institution of confinement were confiscated upon confinement and that the person named in the document is the person whose signature is to be notarized;
- an identification card issued by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services; or
- the sworn written statement of one credible witness personally known to the notary public or the sworn written statement of two credible witnesses whose identities are proven to the notary public upon the presentation of satisfactory evidence that each of the following is true:
- That the person whose signature is to be notarized is the person named in the document;
- that the person whose signature is to be notarized is personally known to the witnesses;
- that it is the reasonable belief of the witnesses that the circumstances of the person whose signature is to be notarized are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for that person to obtain another acceptable form of identification;
- that it is the reasonable belief of the witnesses that the person whose signature is to be notarized does not possess any of the identification documents specified in subparagraph 2.; and
- that the witnesses do not have a financial interest in nor are parties to the underlying transaction;
Standard Notarial Services
An notarized acknowledgement ensures that the document signer's identity is confirmed and valid and that they have not signed the document under any type of duress or pressure from anyone. Acknowledgements are generally needed for documents such as deeds, mortgages, or deeds of trust.
An acknowledgement requires that the signer appear personally in front of the notary, for the notary to positively identify him/her, and for the signer to "acknowledge" that the signature is theirs, and that they have signed the document willingly.
A notarized jurat ensures that the document signer's identity is confirmed and valid and that the contents of and statements made in the document are true. A jurat requires the signer to appear directly in front of the notary, provide acceptable and verifiable identification, sign the document in front of the notary, and swear or affirm verbally that the statements and content of the document are true.
It is up to the signer whether they want an oath (a solemn pledge to a Supreme Being) or an affirmation (a pledge on the signer's personal honor). Both are equally legally binding. Lying under oath is perjury and is a criminal offense punishable by incarceration, fine, or both.
A Notary Public in the State of Florida is authorized to solemnize the rite of matrimony (perform a civil wedding ceremony). This ceremony is what you would call "short and sweet." The Notary has the couple state their intentions, say their vows, and then pronounces the marriage.
A notarized certified copy of a document ensures that the copy is a full and true reproduction of the original. Some documents that may require copy certification are driver's licenses, bills of sale, contracts, diplomas, and medical records. This certainly is not a complete list of documents that may be notarized as true copies. Florida Notaries Public can certify a copy of any document except if, "... the document is neither a vital record in this state, another state, a territory of the United States, or another country, nor a public record, if a copy can be made by the custodian of the public record." (FL Title 10 Chapter 11 117.05 12(a)). In other words, if it is a public record like a birth or death certificate, a wedding license filed with a county clerk, or other type of public record, you must obtain a certified copy of that record from the document custodian (county clerk, secretary of state, etc.).