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Identification For Notarizations – Always A Difficult Decision

How many of you have been at a signing ready to sign with a client only to find that they do not have a valid identification. This surprisingly happens with some degree of regularity. Borrowers sometimes present expired drivers license without knowing it or are just not aware that notaries are unable to except an identification document unless it is current or has been issued within five years.

For example, according to the California notary statutes(Civil Code section 1185(b)(3) & (4)), notaries can only accept certain types of identification. The following list adheres to California code:
1. An identification card or driver’s license issued by the California Department of Motor
2. A United States passport;
3. Other California-approved identification card, consisting of any one of the following,
provided that it also contains a photograph, description of the person, signature of the person,
and an identifying number:
(a) A passport issued by a foreign government, provided that it has been stamped by the U.S.
Immigration and Naturalization Service or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;
(b) A driver’s license issued by another state or by a Canadian or Mexican public agency
authorized to issue driver’s licenses;
(c) An identification card issued by another state;
(d) A United States military identification card with the required photograph, description of
the person, signature of the person, and an identifying number. (Some military identification
cards do not contain all the required information.);
(e) An inmate identification card issued by the California Department of Corrections and
Rehabilitation, if the inmate is in custody.
(f) An employee identification card issued by an agency or office of the State of California,
or an agency or office of a city, county, or city and county in California.
For all of the California notary codes please visit the CA Secretary of State.

The list of identifications seem to cover every type of scenario, but unfortunately in states that border Mexico, notaries may have to deal with a rare but increasing request to use a Matricular Consulate identification card. These cards have not been adopted for use in California as deponents say the card is cause more fraud. Fraud has come to the forefront in real estate since the economic meltdown and corporate excess of the previous months and stronger identification requrirements would be a valuable tool to curb such activity. The California Real Estate Fraud Report recently brought up the topic in a story posted March 29, 2009… California Legislature Proposes Bills that Would Facilitate More Mortgage Fraud

Identification is an essential part of being a notary. Make sure to know the rules so when someone asks you to make a difficult decision, you know to make the right one.