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November 10, 2011

Notary Procedure for Affidavit of Support Documents

Affidavit of Support and the Notary Procedure
 
Notaries who are not immigration experts are strictly forbidden from giving any type of advice regarding immigration.  However, it is common for individuals going through the immigration process to have documents that need to be notarized by a state commissioned notary public.  The Affidavit of Support is the most commonly notarized immigration document.  Any currently commissioned notary with jurisdiction in your state can notarize your signature on that document. There is no such thing as an Immigration notary, or Immigration notariation, but any notary can notarize signatures on basic immigration documents.
 
How do I get an Affidavit of Support notarized?
Just for the record, you get a signature notarized, not a document.  Affidavits of support typically require a Jurat certificate or the type of notarization known as a Jurat.  This requires a quick oath to be given to the signer by the notary public.  The oath only takes half a minute.  The notary would need to check the identification of the signer (this applies to most states).  The notary public would record the identification document’s information in their journal (most states require a journal). 
 
Identification
The ID could be a current drivers license, passport, state ID card.  The ID should be a current government issued photo ID with a physical description and signature.  Green cards are typically not allowed as identification to be notarized.  Foreign driver’s licenses are generally okay, and passports are acceptable.  Make sure to check with the notary you are going to use to see if your choice of identification will be okay.  Make sure your identification is not expired.  Some notaries will allow the use of credible witnesses as well.
 
The Oath
Have you ever sworn under oath before?  Its easy. Just raise your right hand and say, “I do”. It’s the notary’s job to ask you to raise your right hand, and its their job to create some wording for the oath too.  They might say, “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct and that you agree to and will abide by the conditions in this document?”.  Just don’t mumble when being given the oath.  Speak clearly please.
 
No English? 
If the signer doesn’t speak English, most states do NOT allow the use of a translator.  The signer must be able to speak directly with the notary public.  So, for example, if the signer speaks Spanish, just find a bilingual notary public who knows enough Spanish to be able to converse with the signer about the document and the signing. The bilingual notary doesn’t have to speak the language perfectly, but enough to communicate adequantely with the signer.
 
Immigration Advice
Do NOT ask a notary public for immigration advice, unless they have evidence that they are an immigration professional in some official capacity. Notaries are not allowed to give any type of legal advice.  Additionally, notaries can not draft legal documents, although many states allow them to draft less formal documents.
 
Where do I find a notary?
You can find a mobile notary on www.123notary.com, and there are bilingual notaries speaking almost every language on the planet from Arabic to Zulu.  Spanish is by far the most common foreign language for notaries to speak, but 123notary has many who speak all other types of languages.  If you want to find a notary office, try your local UPS store. They can be found on google.

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January 21, 2011

Affidavit of Support and direct communication with the signer

Filed under: Affidavits — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:10 am

As a former Notary Public, my favorite type of notarization was for Affidavits of Support. It was not the actual document that I enjoyed. It was the hospitality that accompanied the job which normally included various types of Asian cuisine! I’m not particular. I like pot stickers, fried rice, and rad-na! It’s all good. To do a good job doing an Affidavit of Support Notary job, you need to know how to place your stamp in a very tight area in a form and know how to administer an Oath. But, what if your signer doesn’t know English that well?

State notary public laws vary from state to state. One of the largest discrepancies is how to deal with foreign language documents and foreign language speakers. Some states require direct communication between the notary and the signer. That means that no translators or interpreters are allowed. Even if you know very little of the signer’s language or vice-versa, that might be enough to get through a notarization procedure.

Remember — notary appointments require very little actual communication. You need to ask if the signer understands the document. You need to instruct the signer where to sign the document and your journal. You need to be able to negotiate fees. You need to be able to administer an Oath in their language. You could easily learn to do Oaths in five languages without any linguistic talents to speak of! Just for the record, I used to give Oaths in Chinese and Spanish. I know relatively little Spanish although I can chatter for hours in Chinese with my acupuncturist.

And what if the document is written in a different language? Since an Affidavit of Support is a U.S. Immigration Document, it would be in English. But, what if your signer has some other documents in Chinese Calligraphy to have notarized? Does your state allow you to notarize those documents if you don’t know the language? And what if the signer’s signature is in Chinese Characters? OMG! Or perhaps I should say MSG!

Although some states allow the use of an interpreter, doing notary work is critical, and is a way to preserve and protect the integrity of signatures and Oaths. I personally feel that regardless of what your state laws say, be on the safe side and learn to communicate directly with whomever you notarize. After all, an unknown and/or un-certified interpreter could make a mistake which could cause a heap of trouble! Know your state’s laws before you go out on a notary job!

Tweets:
(1) As a former notary, my favorite type of notarization was for Affidavits of Support because the hospitality that accompanied.
(2) If you specialize in notarizing Affidavits of Support, you might get pot stickers, fried rice, and cash tips.
(3) How do you deal with foreign language docs & foreign language speakers w/o breaking state laws?
(4) Many states don’t allow the use of an interpreter — and this law is not open to interpretation!

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