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Notarization in San Francisco County Jail

In custody notarization can occur in California. However, the process can be complex and has many factors that can delay, or prevent a Notary Publics access to an inmate and notarization. The costs associated with notarization in a San Francisco County jail facility are higher and much more time consuming due to the procedures in place at each facility. Some causes of the extended time spent at the appointment include extended wait times due to the facility, denial of visitation rights for the specific inmate, or due to events at the jail, and failure to have proper identification for the inmate.

When requesting notarization at a county jail, the requester must realize that there are many factors and circumstances that can complicate and increase the fee of a in-custody notarization. These situations are out of the control of the Notary Public, and are often out of control of the facility as well. It sometimes takes multiple trips to the facility before being able to successfully access the inmate and complete the signing.

During in-custody visits, the Notary Public will request a professional visit at the facility, there are no appointment times for professional visits, and are on a first come first served basis. Once there, the Notary Public will have their commission credentials checked and approved, and then wait for the jail to escort them to the professional visiting area. This is often when the extended wait is created, such as if there are no facility guards available to escort the inmate or the notary to the visiting area. There are also occasions where there is no visiting room available until another visitor leaves, and sometimes the inmate is working or preoccupied and creates a wait time for the Notary Public.

In order to notarize for a person in custody of a San Francisco Jail facility, the inmate must have a proper jail wristband or ID card, or a person that is not in custody must meet the Notary Public and supply the driver’s license of the inmate to them. The name on the document must match the name on the wristband or form of ID used. If the jail does not have the middle name of an inmate on the wristband, the middle name of the signer cannot be used on the document or notarized.

It is critical to call the facility and ask them how they have the signer/inmates name registered to ensure that you do not prepare a document that does not match their jail identification.

When all procedures are smooth, in-custody jail notarization can be as quick as 20-30 minutes from the time of the Notarys arrival, or take as long as 3+ hours if things are complicated. Often the Notary will have to opt to return at a later day/time if the signing is not successful within a certain wait time period. The requester of the notarization is responsible for compensating the Notary for any time spent, and for multiple visits if necessary to complete the appointment.