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Resources > Glossary > Identification of Signer

Glossary of Notary Public, Mortgage, Signing Agent, and Loan Signing Terms.

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Common Terms 1   Common Terms 2

Identification of Signer

Function: noun

A signer must prove their identify to the notary public with satisfactory evidence. A drivers license or passport would be satisfactory evidence. Most states allow the use of credible identifying witnesses to identify a signer as well. A credible witness is someone who knows the signer, and many states require the credible witness to know the notary personally as well. A few years ago, many states allowed the notary to use personal knowledge of the signer as a form of identification, however, as of 2011, few if any states still allow this ambiguous form of identification.

State laws differ on what constitutes satisfactory identification of a signer.

Definition 1:
Generally a government issued identification such as a drivers license, identity card, or passport will suffice. Its generally beneficial if the identity document has a picture, signature, and an expiration date. Idenficiation of signers should be current and not expired. It is good to inspect the identity document to make sure that the picture bears likeness to the individual being notarized and that the document looks real and not tampered with. The lamination should be intact, otherwise the identification could likely be fake.

Definition 2:
Identification for notary purposes generally would be a government issued photo ID with a physical description, signature, serial number, and expiration date. Most states require the identification to be current at the time fo the notarization although a few states allow a grace period. The photo on the identification document should bear physical likeness to the signer.

Thesaurus / Related Terms
Satisfactory Evidence.
Credible Witness