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July 3, 2013

How to get something notarized if you don’t have ID

If you don’t have ID, many states allow the use of credible witnesses. Two people could identify you before a notary public, sign the notary’s journal, and produce identification themselves.

But, honestly, if you need to get notarized, go down to your DMV and get a state issued identification card. You need it to go to a hotel, rent a car, get notarized, and more. You might need a copy of your birth certificate to get your ID. So, be prepared to figure out how to get your birth certificate. Don’t waste time. It is a hassle when notaries have to deal with clients who don’t have proper identification.

Personally, I have notarized many people. Some lived in bad areas where they got mugged, and the mugger took their identification. Others were old and had expired identification. Get with the program and get your identification ready.

It is sometimes hard or impossible to get something notarized if you don’t have current government issued identification.

Some states will allow the notary to notarize you if they know you well as being “personally known” to the Notary could constitute identification. Most states used to have that law because in the old days people tended to know people in their area quite well. But, most states have changed their laws, and no longer allow the notary to claim to know you as a form of identification.

Now you know how to get something notarized if you don’t have ID.

You might also like:

Show me your identification

Identification requirements for being notarized

Signature Name Affidavit: Not a substitute for an ID



  1. With the bad old days of the no income qualification mortgages thankfully in the past, lack of satisfactory ID as all but vanished. Gone are the accommodation signings where the borrower refuses to give a thumbprint or won’t sign a 4506. A borrower qualifying for a 400K mortgage without proper ID used to make this notary’s head explode. Then using credible witnesses as walking talking ID’s to sign a security instrument… madness! I’s no wonder the penalty of perjury sentence was added to the California acknowledgment. Somebody had to be held accountable!

    The flip side of this coin is the old and infirm needing a notary to witness them signing away their property and savings to their distant relative from New York or somewhere. Monkey Business! Hey it sure seemed easy till the notary got there and refused to notarize without proper ID and guess what, the caregivers are instructed not to fall for the credible witness scam. Experienced notaries can smell a rat a mile away.

    Now with the proper qualification questioning over the phone most of the surprises are eliminated but just remember it’s your signature that’s on the document/Acknowledgment not the credible witnesses.

    Comment by Joe Ewing — December 5, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  2. i dont know where you get this information but… The fact of the matter is i lost my id recently, my drivers license ok can happen to anyone. i dont like wearing the same purse and change them on a daily basis at times. it may have fell out of my car at the gas station. I also had lost my birth certificate while i was moving. we moved a few times and sometimes had no time to organize things.now the state of california will not give me another one without giving them a notarized document. This is what i get for procrastinating. its just not easy being a single mom to a young boy and work full time and plan for his future.

    Comment by SUGAR WELLS — April 28, 2014 @ 10:12 pm

  3. Yeah, my 96 year old mother really needs to wait online at the DMV, just in case. I appreciate the advice, but really.

    Comment by Ann — May 12, 2017 @ 1:02 am

  4. You do realize it’s not as easy as to “go to the DMV and get an ID” You need a birth certificate to get an ID and to get an out of state birth certificate through email you need a notary to sign.

    Comment by Matthew Robinson — January 20, 2018 @ 10:43 pm

  5. Well No shit Shurlock, 1. I wouldn’t ask this question if I had an state Id card, and 2. U can’t get a Id without a birth certificate nor can u get a birth certificate without an Id card captain obvious

    Comment by Maci — February 28, 2018 @ 9:12 pm

  6. If in some places a person cannot get something notarized without a government issued ID, what about people who need their original birth certificate, which requires a notary signature, in order to GET their first ID to begin with? My daughter is 16 and is wanting to get her driver’s permit and license, but cannot without a birth certificate, and cannot get her birth certificate without a notary, which requires a government issued ID… you see the circle we are in.

    Comment by Brandie — May 17, 2018 @ 1:01 pm

  7. It’s actually Sherlock, not Shurlock.

    Comment by Tim — May 23, 2019 @ 5:34 pm

  8. What did you folks do to get the California document needed to obtain a birth certificate notarized? I need my birth certificate to get my ID, and I need my ID to have the document I need for the birth certificate notarized. Is this what they mean by lunatic fringe?

    Comment by Zhea Z — July 31, 2019 @ 12:49 am

  9. You should be able to order a certified copy of your birth certificate from the county in which you were born. You shouldn’t have to find the original, it should be recorded in public records.

    Comment by M. I. — October 5, 2019 @ 6:02 pm

  10. Kinda rude about it. So I have had a problem with my name social says one thing birth certificate says another. I never used my birth certificate name as I never knew my full name due to foster care. Anyways, recently I applied for a new i.d. and low and behold the problem has locked me out of getting an identification card. To get my birth certificate I must get some things notarized because my ex refuses to give mine back. So long story short give the dude a break. Your information was helpful but your get with the program attitude kinda sucks.

    Comment by MATTHEW — February 28, 2020 @ 2:02 am

  11. “But, honestly, if you need to get notarized, go down to your DMV and get a state issued identification card.”

    Really? Sorry, but this statement is pretty stupid.

    Most people, if they had the ability, would already have an ID if they could. It’s not a helpful answer in any way.

    Comment by Brandi — August 7, 2020 @ 4:52 am

  12. Same problem here. Lost my I’d and both certificate, now can’t seem to be able to get anything done. There had to be an answer to this problem. Waiting to talk to my state representative about this manner. Ugh.

    Comment by Mary Hastings — September 16, 2020 @ 5:46 pm

  13. Hi Mary. I’m having same issue. Were you able to resolve your problems. Looking for an advice as well. Thank you

    Comment by Amiya — April 9, 2021 @ 3:00 am

  14. I was asked by a family member to go sign some papers for a trust. the woman in the law office claimed to be a notary at the law office but she never asked for my ID. I don’t know anyone in the law office and none of them know me.

    is it legal to do this? She didnt stamp anything either she just said ‘I watched you sign it so its good!’

    Comment by american patriot — May 4, 2021 @ 10:27 am

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