Online Notary Course  for California

Part 4, Section 4
Credible Identifying Witness

In order to perform a notarization for a person who is not personally known to you and is not able to provide valid identification, that person may use one or two credible identifying witness(es) instead.  Every credible identifying witness must know the signer personally.  Civil Code §§ 1185(b)

If there is only one credible identifying witness, that witness must be personally known by the notary, and prove their identity with a valid identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport)

If there are two credible identifying witnesses, those witnesses need not be known by the notary but may prove their identity in the same manner as though you were notarizing a document for them, i.e., driver license, passport, etc.

You need to ascertain that the credible identifying witness or witnesses have no financial or other interest in the document you are notarizing.

You also need to administer a verbal oath or affirmation to every credible identifying witness.  A simple oath or affirmation would be:

“Do you swear (or affirm) that you know the signer personally and that he or she holds the identity that he or she claims?

The credible identifying witness should answer an audible “Yes.”  You may ask the credible identifying witness to raise his or her right hand while you are administering this oath, but it is not a legal requirement.

The identifying witness(es) name(s) identification type, number, and expiration date needs to be written in your journal, and the witness(es) need to sign your journal as well.  After you have positively identified the witness(es) and given the oath or affirmation, you may proceed with your notarization.

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