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San Francisco Bay Area Notary: Expired Identification

The most important requirement in obtaining notarization is having satisfactory and valid government issued identification. When a signer lacks current, non-expired identification, it complicates and often delays the process of notarization.
Many individuals have contacted San Francisco Mobile Notary requesting notarization and then when asked what form of ID the signer has, will indicate they possess no ID, or 10 year old expired identification.

There are a few ways that general notarization can occur when identification is expired, given that certain conditions are met.

The following information is not legal advice and does not guarantee the legality, or acceptable of the notarized document, or that all documents can be executed using expired ID or credible witnesses for identification. The following information is based on requirements that California Notaries Public must follow in regards to notarizing with expired identification, or no identification.
* Be advised, some documents require the notary public to fill in the information, expiration, or type of identification used to identify the signer, and this could invalidate the use of the following methods.

The method that can sometimes be used when a signer possesses an expired ID is as follows:
When a satisfactory form of identification recently expired, sometimes it meets a condition that is in place by the California Secretary of State in which Notaries Public can accept an ID if it was issued within 5 years from the date of notarization. So if today is November 10 2016, and the ID expired September 05, 2016, AND the ID issue date is November 12, 2011, it can be used for notarization on November 10, 2016, because 5 years have not passed since the ID was issued in November 12, 2011.
Signers can also obtain valid identification by renewing their form of expired ID, or present a different form of acceptable identification such as a passport.

There is a method for notarization when a signer has no identification, or significantly expired identification, this method involves using credible witnesses. Credible witnesses are only allowed to be used if the signer has zero form of valid ID, it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain such ID.. Credible witnesses cannot be used as a substitute for a recently expired ID, or if the name on the ID does not match the name that the signer wants to use. It is a last resort method used for the elderly, or similar circumstances.

The follows describes the requirement of who can be credible witnesses, and the procedures involved.

Two (2) people must be used as credible witnesses. These credible witnesses as well as the signer must all be present in front of the notary public at the time of the signing and notarization. The witnesses cannot be named in the document being notarized, or have any beneficial interest in said document. They must be completely impartial. Most importantly, the two credible witnesses must PERSONALLY know the signer. Not be casual acquaintances or a nurse in a nursing home, or a business relationship. They must substantially know the identity of the signer and be willing to swear, under penalty of perjury that they know the signer, the name of the signer, and that they personally know the signer has circumstances in which they cannot obtain identification.

1. The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;

2. The credible witness personally knows the signer;

3. The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;

4. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and

5. The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.